Americana: What's in a Name?

He used to be known as Robert E. Lee, which had a certain ring, but now he is called Roberto E. Leon, which has certain advantages−or so it seemed for a while. A retired Navy captain, Leon, 56, works as an engineer for Montgomery County, Md., outside Washington. When Lee took the Hispanic name Leon, he asked the county to grant him preferential status under its affirmative-action program. Leon noted that he had a Spanish grandfather and claimed that he had been considering the switch for years, but he also confessed: "What's wrong with being an opportunist?"

Plenty, decided the U.S. Equal...

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