The last name “Castro” does not by itself make someone Cuban.
On Friday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell welcomed Representative Joaquín Castro (D., Texas) to her broadcast as part of a discussion about the upcoming Americas Summit in Panama City, Panama. The summit marks the first to include Cuba following the United States’ monumental shift in policy toward the country last year; many anticipate a meeting between President Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro at some point over the weekend to symbolize the change.
Mitchell’s eagerness to inflate the Texas representative’s authority as an expert on Cuba caused her to make erroneous assumption about her guest.
“You have a Cuban-American background . . .” she started off.
“Well, I’m Mexican-American,” Castro awkwardly corrected her. “But same last name as the . . . yeah.”
Mitchell quickly tried to recover: “Mexican-American, but . . . you understand the real division in the Hispanic and Latino communities about this.”
There are a number of Cuban-American politicians serving in Congress (including another lawmaker from Texas who is currently running for president). Mitchell learned the hard way that Castro is, in fact, not one of them.
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.