Author Topic: You don't look American.  (Read 46502 times)

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Martienne

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #90 on: April 25, 2012, 12:09:41 AM »
I must have the kind of face that people assume is part of their ethnicity or something. I am an American of German descent (Bavaria, to be exact, which is in the southern part of that country). I have pale skin, brown/amber eyes and (naturally) dark hair. I've had people mistake me for all kinds of ethnicities...I've had people ask me if I'm Latina, Mexican, one guy even asked me once if I'm from Guatemala. Now, my mother's family was from Austria/Hungary, so my mom had kind of olive skin with the dark hair and brown eyes...but her features were very Anglo. And her skin wasn't that dark. My brother and one of my sister's have my mother's skin tone, while my other sister and myself are as pale as the Bride of Frankenstein. I think people often project their own ideas about ethnicity on others...I think it's just natural. It's silly to assume, of course, but kind of fun to be on the receiving end of it for me. I like to think I'd make a great spy, because obviously I could blend in...anywhere.  8)

I say the same thing about myself! Which is funny, because my lineage on my dad's side is German as well (he's 3rd/4th generation American, but everyone married German descendants). My mother is from Central America.

Actually, the way I word it is that I must have the most generic set of features of ambiguous ethnicity possible, because I don't get people asking me about (or assuming about) my ethnicity so much as I have people come up to me and start addressing me as if they know me. I'm pretty sure that few, of any, of these incidents have been repeats either. I always get addressed as a different name (I have been Michelle and Tiffany and several others) or when they assume I went to high school with their daughter or whatever, they always mention a different school. I have dopplegangers who have graduated from three area high schools!

When I have had people assume my ethnicity, I'm either assumed to be part (Asian) Indian, or part black.

s

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #91 on: June 05, 2012, 04:52:55 PM »

Maybe it's normal in a country where people do tend to have similar features. But it still seems rude to me to basically call someone out for not looking a certain way.

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.


I'm American and live in an ethnically diverse area so it confounds me when I get this.  I don't get it too often but recently I have.  I have been attending a local university to get a TEFL certificate for teaching English.  There are a lot of international students that attend this university and specifically in the TEFL program.  Ironically, the program has more nonnative English speakers than native English speakers!

Whenever I get asked why I don't look like "everybody else" for some reason I feel the need to explain by giving my ethnic background.  Then again I shouldn't have to because this is the US and the area I live in is also ethnically diverse!  Maybe when the next round of classes start and I get this I'll try just saying "What do you mean?"  ???


Out of my 4 ethnicities I only really identify with 1 of them plus being American.  Another one I like some of the food but that's about it.  I do identify all 4 ethnicities if people are curious of what I am or if I'm speaking to someone of one of those particular ethnicities I'll so "Oh yeah I'm 1/4 Ethnicity."   I feel like I want to stop doing that though and just say I'm 1/2 American 1/2 Ethnicity to make it easier since I don't identify with the other 3.  Plus, when I say I'm also part ethnicity for one of them, the people of that ethnicity pretend like I didn't even say it.  They just completely ignore it!  I feel like if you are surprised or can't believe it or don't think I look it just say so!  That's better than a snub!  I mean what is with the snub?   :o  And this is usually with Americanized people of that ethnicity, born and raised in the US.


Outside of school, if I do get reactions about what I look like it's usually surprise and intrigue or surprise/disbelief and the need to point out that I don't look it at all which gets annoying after awhile, especially because it always seems to be done in a negative way.  For example, I was having a conversation with a co-worker awhile back.  I forget what we were talking about but it came up about me being certain ethnicity and she said "Well you don't look like it at all," and I was like "Ummm... ok..." mainly cause I found it kind of rude especially with the tone she used.  Then she said "Well you don't!" in an even ruder tone!  It's like what's your point exactly?   ???

Pippen

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #92 on: June 08, 2012, 05:49:07 PM »
Sometimes you can just tell. I had a Slovak guy staying with me who went to the supermarket and this woman comes up and asks him 'You're Slovakian aren't you?'. He was 'Yes. How did you know?' and she replied 'My husband is Slovakian and I can just tell.' then she wandered off. He wasn't wearing any branded items or bags etc so it kind of freaked him out.

Jocelyn

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #93 on: June 08, 2012, 11:40:12 PM »
My niece is Korean. She's been mistaken for Chinese by Chinese people. When her son was an infant, a woman accosted my sister (his grandmother) demanding to know how she had custody of a Native American child. When my sister told me the story, I agreed that the grandson did look very much like the local Native American children, more than he looked Korean.
When I went to Germany with my father's side of the family to meet our German cousins, it was very striking: all the Americans were blond or redheaded, mostly with blue eyes, and most of the Germans were dark-haired and dark-eyed.
I have a friend who is Japanese-American. She once had a man argue with her that her surname is really Italian, so she must be Italian. Both her surname and appearance are very typically Japanese.

Mental Magpie

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #94 on: June 09, 2012, 12:04:37 AM »
My niece is Korean. She's been mistaken for Chinese by Chinese people. When her son was an infant, a woman accosted my sister (his grandmother) demanding to know how she had custody of a Native American child. When my sister told me the story, I agreed that the grandson did look very much like the local Native American children, more than he looked Korean.
When I went to Germany with my father's side of the family to meet our German cousins, it was very striking: all the Americans were blond or redheaded, mostly with blue eyes, and most of the Germans were dark-haired and dark-eyed.
I have a friend who is Japanese-American. She once had a man argue with her that her surname is really Italian, so she must be Italian. Both her surname and appearance are very typically Japanese.

A man once tried to argue with Dark Sister that our last name wasn't German.  It is incredibly German, as was our grandfather who spoke fluent German because, oh wait, his parents had come over on a boat and he was raised bilingual.  I've never had anyone guess wrong when they guess the origin of my last name.
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Bottlecaps

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #95 on: June 17, 2012, 08:01:01 PM »
I would be halfway tempted, if someone said this to me, to say, "Funny that you mention that. You don't look like an idiot."

But that would be very, very rude - so don't do that. :-P
"Some of the most wonderful people are the ones who don't fit into boxes." -Tori Amos


Lady Snowdon

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Re: You don't look American.
« Reply #96 on: June 24, 2012, 10:43:00 AM »
I am Irish/English/Scottish/Polish/Norwegian/Swedish.  Thanks to the lovely mashing of genetic types, I do not look like any particular ethnicity.  I'm just your average generic American mutt; brown hair, blue eyes, pale skin.  I don't get any comments on how I look, but I certainly get the "You don't sound like you're from here" comments!  I work in customer service, and I've had people assume I'm in India, I'm in Mexico, plus a random smattering of US states.  I live and work in Minnesota, but nobody seems to think that could possibly be true.  If I tell people where I am, I get comments like "you don't sound Minnesotan!" or "you're lying - you can't possibly be up there".   

My aunt is more of the Black Irish stereotype, with brown eyes, black hair, and very dark olivey skin.  She had a daughter who has blond hair, green eyes and very pale skin.  I know of at least two times where she was accused of not being my cousin's actual mother because "you look too different".