Author Topic: You don't look American.  (Read 46547 times)

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KatPsych

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2011, 03:46:29 PM »
My father's family is all German, as far as we can tell and my mother was Estonian. In 2009 my dad and I went over to Europe to visit my sister and her husband in Germany and then went down to Lake Como to visit my dad's brother, who has retired there, and then up through Switzerland [we took the scenic but not very much used anymore Spluga Pass] to Neuschwanstein. While we were visiting my uncle we went to Lecco for the day and decided to have some gelato.  So, we went up to order and the young lady promptly spoke to us in German.   Then we were up having lunch in Spluga and I went across the street to the souvenir shop...and the man behind the counter spoke to me in German. 

I guess my fair complection, beige hair and fat cheeks and face make me look German.

I'm an American and I get mistaken as German too! One side of the family is from Germany, but they came over in the 1790s, so they've been here awhile :)  When my DH and I were in Italy, a German man came up to me on a train and started speaking to me in German to ask about the train route and if he was on the right train.  Fortunately, I did take German in high school/college, so I actually understood what he was saying, but you should have seen his eyes when I replied back to him in my far-less-than-perfect German! He clearly thought I was a fellow German and was startled by how I was (probably) butchering his language.  But we were able to communicate and I was able to help him.

I was told by a different German man that I looked German because I have very "German eyes."  I'm not sure what that means, but my eyes are a very light shade of blue and I have darker brown hair.  The eye shade has been passed down from the German side of the family, so maybe that shade is more common there than in the US?





 



LadyPekoe

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2011, 04:08:12 PM »
I am constantly mistaken for being South American.  Not only am I an American, I'm not even of South American heritage.  One time I was mistaken for Brazilian three times within three hours.  People come out of nowhere, speaking Portuguese to me, which I do not understand.

There is no "American" look.  I think part of the world expects us all to be blond haired and blue eyed, wearing overalls and a baseball cap, with a bald eagle on one arm and carrying an apple pie in the other.
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Nurvingiel

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2011, 11:33:59 PM »
There is no "American" look.  I think part of the world expects us all to be blond haired and blue eyed, wearing overalls and a baseball cap, with a bald eagle on one arm and carrying an apple pie in the other.
I know he or she doesn't exist, but I would like to be friends anyway. (And I love pie.) ;D

FWIW I don't know a lot of Finns but the ones I do know always dress well. That's not a stereotype I really "get". Maybe it's more prevalent in Europe.

I think that's a mostly Finnish stereotype, along with the stereotypes that Finns can't speak English and that we can't behave (very often a politicians visit to another country is accompanied by headlines about how they shamed Finland by not speaking fluent enough English or by having an ugly handbag, in the case of our president).
LOL who cares what Tarja Halonen's handbag looks like, she the President not a model.

But it causes the whole world to mock us, at least according to some. Some people call her Moominmamma, like it's an insult.

I think that Finns think too much about what other people think of us, when in reality they don't think much at all of us :)
Well they can tell that to the Finnish hockey team (winners of a gold medal after blasting Sweden 6-1 in the final) at the men's world championships.

Personally I think Finland and everyone in it is totally awesome. I can't put my finger on why exactly. Every Finn I meet is just so cool. Finland is an absolutely gorgeous country with incredible food and an amazing culture.

I think that Finland and Canada are natural buddies. We get each other. :) So you have at least one ally over here!
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magdalena

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2011, 03:15:30 AM »
Well they can tell that to the Finnish hockey team (winners of a gold medal after blasting Sweden 6-1 in the final) at the men's world championships.

Personally I think Finland and everyone in it is totally awesome. I can't put my finger on why exactly. Every Finn I meet is just so cool. Finland is an absolutely gorgeous country with incredible food and an amazing culture.

I think that Finland and Canada are natural buddies. We get each other. :) So you have at least one ally over here!

To start off: Yay for the Lions!!!
Second: awwww! Then again, every Canadian I've ever met was cool. I think we really are natural buddies... Your country is just way too amazing to be true, can't wait to come over again... and then, maybe I'll finally make it to the west coast...



bluedahlia

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2011, 07:50:17 PM »
I was once told by someone in Seattle that I couldn't possibly be from the East Coast because I didn't sound like I was from Brooklyn or Boston.  There are a lot of accents from New England through the Mid-Atlantic states but he just couldn't wrap his mind around it.

Brentwood

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2011, 12:02:24 AM »
There is no "American" look.  I think part of the world expects us all to be blond haired and blue eyed, wearing overalls and a baseball cap, with a bald eagle on one arm and carrying an apple pie in the other.
I know he or she doesn't exist, but I would like to be friends anyway. (And I love pie.) ;D



I've got the blonde hair, blue eyes, baseball cap and apple pie covered, but I can't produce the overalls or the bald eagle. ;)

Nurvingiel

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2011, 02:00:45 PM »
There is no "American" look.  I think part of the world expects us all to be blond haired and blue eyed, wearing overalls and a baseball cap, with a bald eagle on one arm and carrying an apple pie in the other.
I know he or she doesn't exist, but I would like to be friends anyway. (And I love pie.) ;D
I've got the blonde hair, blue eyes, baseball cap and apple pie covered, but I can't produce the overalls or the bald eagle. ;)
Close enough! ;D
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Cyradis

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2011, 09:48:52 PM »
At home many people believe I'm too pale to be a Trinidadian. I've learned to get a kick out of people asking kindly where I'm from and if I'm having a nice visit. Most folks assume I'm Venezuelan or British.

At college in Illinois my Caribbean heritage was doubted because of my lack of a Jamaican accent.  ::)

Emmi

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2011, 03:00:45 AM »
I had a class in high school where one girl was from the Caymen Island and her father was black but she had blonde hair (but I think it was dyed) and blue eyes and pale skin.  And someone told her that she can't be from there and that can't be her father.  And my favorite was that she can't count as half black.

kethria

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2011, 02:07:22 PM »
I went to an ethnic store with a coworker and the cashier started talkign to me in Spanish, which I speak, so I responded, and my coworker was amazed. "How did she know you speak spanish? you look so white!"

Erm... maybe because I bought everything from the Goya aisle?

Nurvingiel

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #40 on: May 25, 2011, 01:41:49 AM »
^ Basket of food with Spanish labels means one of two things. The person buying the food speaks and reads Spanish or, the person buying this food does not read Spanish, and it's adventure night. ;D The store employee assumed the more likely former scenario.

And my favorite was that she can't count as half black.
LOL did they have trouble with math? ;D
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Winterlight

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2011, 12:10:25 AM »
I think this kind of thing is pretty common, to be honest. People have vague stereotypes in their heads that they're barely aware of. I lived in various overseas countries for years and was often told I didn't look Australian. Of course, the person would then have no idea what they thought 'Australian' should look like. A few times it was apparently because I had an 'English face'. (Yeah, no idea about that one).

Even inside the United States, we deal in stereotypes by state. Texans, of which I am one, all have scads of guns, big cars preferably with longhorn horns mounted on the front, and oil wells in our back yards.

Alaskans, of which I am one, all eat muktuk, have dogsled teams and live in igloos.

We also tease Texans about how difficult it must be to live in such a small state- wait, that one's true. >:D
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Nora

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #42 on: May 30, 2011, 02:31:47 PM »
I don't look Norwegian. I can sing the Norwegian national anthem, recite all the public holidays, got an A in Norwegian, and an A in Norse (old Norwegian), have read lot's of Ibsen, can play Grieg on the recorder, and can explain "fjellvett" to whomever it may concern.

I'm Norwegian. I was not born here, but I'm raised here, work here, married (a foreigner) here, and had my child here.

It's really annoying when strangers assume my husband is Norwegian, because he's white, and that I'm the recent immigrant because I'm cafe au lait coloured.

Just because someone is offended that does not mean they are in the right.

PaintingPastelPrincess

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #43 on: May 30, 2011, 05:59:18 PM »
I don't look Norwegian. I can sing the Norwegian national anthem, recite all the public holidays, got an A in Norwegian, and an A in Norse (old Norwegian), have read lot's of Ibsen, can play Grieg on the recorder, and can explain "fjellvett" to whomever it may concern.

I'm Norwegian. I was not born here, but I'm raised here, work here, married (a foreigner) here, and had my child here.

It's really annoying when strangers assume my husband is Norwegian, because he's white, and that I'm the recent immigrant because I'm cafe au lait coloured.



I'm American, but I'm also 1/4 Norwegian on my mother's side.  When I took Norwegian in college, I was grilled by another girl because I didn't seem Norwegian. My name was Norwegian enough (Dad's family was probably Italian orignally, many generations back, sorry to disappoint), my hair was too dark ( ::)) and I couldn't speak more than 3 words of it.  Although, I did get in trouble in high school for a report on Norway because I didn't explain what a fjord is.  I thought it would be overkill, like explaining an ocean.

My sister's first reaction to my BF was "He doesn't look Mexican."  ::)  He's Mexcian on his mom's side, and Polish on his dad's.  He's got a very Polish last name, and looks more like his dad's family than his mom's (except for his hair).  Light skin, green eyes, really tall, so it's true that he's not the Mexican stereotype.  However, he grew up close to his mom's family and culturally identifies himself with them more than with the Polish side (who are much more American than Polish at this point anyway).  Looks don't really mean anything.

That said, though, I agree that some people have a look about them, but in places with huge immigrant populations going back generations, like America, it's impossible to tell if someone's [whatever] by birth or by heritage (or not that at all).  I like to guess inside my head, but would never say anything out loud, because it doesn't really matter to me and I'm wrong too often anyway.

Brentwood

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #44 on: May 30, 2011, 06:04:29 PM »
I was once chastised because I say my Norwegian last name "wrong".  ::)