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View Full Version : Have you ever been mistaken for another nationality?


Prowler
09-29-2017, 11:41 AM
If so, got any fun story to tell?

It's only happened to me a few times while travelling. usually people don't care where I'm from or just ask me in case they're curious. The most random one I can think of was on a trip me and my family made to Tunisia many many years ago. At the hotel store the guy asked us first if we were from Bulgaria. We said "no" and then he asked us if we were from Yugoslavia(yes, that country still existed at the time). It was rather funny and unexpected.

I also remember being 9 years old or so abroad(in Spain, I think?) and some British kid asking me out of the blue "Are you British?". I shook my head. Then he asked me if I was French, Irish, German or Dutch. I shook my head to every of his question. then he finally asked me "What are you,then?"... and I didn't answer him :lol:. That was a funny exchange. Kinda rude of me but I was a shy kid and I wasn't exactly proficient at English yet, as you can possibly imagine :P

Honestly, it seems to me that I'm a rather generic European looking guy and can blend well anywhere in Europe for the most part. Probably because my family has always made an effort in trying to avoid looking like tourists when we travelled, so that pickpockets wouldn't rob us... in fact it never happened to us while we travelled.

Not really the same thing, but I remember a few of my online friends listening to my voice for the first time and telling me I had a Russian/Slavic sounding accent.

Usually, in online communities people can't really tell where I'm from unless I fill in my location. Probably because my written English is quite good. So people tend to assume I'm American or British unless I say otherwise. That's why I always fill in my location nowadays in order to avoid misunderstandings.

What about you?

Andrew NDB
09-29-2017, 11:43 AM
All the time. Everyone thinks I'm Japanese, or part Asian.

Prowler
09-29-2017, 11:45 AM
All the time. Everyone thinks I'm Japanese, or part Asian.
No offence, but I can see why people would think that. You do look a tad East Asian.

DestronMirage22
09-29-2017, 11:52 AM
Just because I'm hispanic people automatically assume I'm Mexican.
And whenever I tell them I'm Salvadorian they go "what's that?".

I've also been mistaken for asian, on account of my slanted eyes. I was acquainted with an asian schoolmate long ago, and some classmates thought we were siblings.

It can be really annoying.

Prowler
09-29-2017, 11:55 AM
Just because I'm hispanic people automatically assume I'm Mexican.
And whenever I tell them I'm Salvadorian they go "what's that?".

I've also been mistaken for asian, on account of my slanted eyes. I was acquainted with an asian schoolmate long ago, and some classmates thought we were siblings.

It can be really annoying.
I don't think it's a big deal unless someone is hostile to you. But getting asked "Where is your country?" sounds pretty annoying, I can imagine.

CyberCubed
09-29-2017, 12:27 PM
I'm a white boy so no.

Krutch
09-29-2017, 12:28 PM
Nope. Been mistaken for Orlando Bloom a couple times, if that counts.

Andrew NDB
09-29-2017, 12:28 PM
Just because I'm hispanic people automatically assume I'm Mexican.
And whenever I tell them I'm Salvadorian they go "what's that?".

I've also been mistaken for asian, on account of my slanted eyes.

We're in the same boat. I'm Colombian, mostly. One of my biggest pet peeves: people spelling Colombia "Columbia." C'mon. It's not that hard, people.

Prowler
09-29-2017, 12:33 PM
I'm a white boy so no.
That's not a nationality though. You said your ancestors are mostly Russian. Can people usually tell that by looking at you or not really?

We're in the same boat. I'm Colombian, mostly. One of my biggest pet peeves: people spelling Colombia "Columbia." C'mon. It's not that hard, people.
Never saw people mispelling Colombia as "Columbia". Is that a common mistake made by English speakers or smth? I have seen however people writing Romania as "Rumania" before.

newfan
09-29-2017, 12:38 PM
I used to get it a lot after I came back from being in the US, I had picked up a little of the accent but I also spent a lot of time with a girl from another country so picked up some of that too.
I think for about 2 years after I got home I was always being asked where I am from or if I am here on a work visa :)

I was asked if I was Greek 'or something' when I had spent some time in a sunny place and come home tanned.

Prowler
09-29-2017, 12:51 PM
I used to get it a lot after I came back from being in the US, I had picked up a little of the accent but I also spent a lot of time with a girl from another country so picked up some of that too.
I think for about 2 years after I got home I was always being asked where I am from or if I am here on a work visa :)

I was asked if I was Greek 'or something' when I had spent some time in a sunny place and come home tanned.

I think my combination of looks makes it harder for people to relate me to physical appearance stereotypes. I am a 183cm-184cm(6'0 foot) tall guy with brown hair and eyes and pale skin, so I guess that makes me able to blend in rather well in most European countries. it gives me a rather generic appearance.

CyberCubed
09-29-2017, 12:52 PM
That's not a nationality though. You said your ancestors are mostly Russian. Can people usually tell that by looking at you or not really?.

No, because I just look like your average white person. Brown hair, brown eyes, white, etc.

I have no distinguishing features of any race.

Prowler
09-29-2017, 12:56 PM
No, because I just look like your average white person. Brown hair, brown eyes, white, etc.

I have no distinguishing features of any race.
I thought White Americans liked to talk about where their ancestors came from in Europe. :P

Andrew NDB
09-29-2017, 01:05 PM
Never saw people mispelling Colombia as "Columbia". Is that a common mistake made by English speakers or smth? I have seen however people writing Romania as "Rumania" before.

It's all over the place, anytime anyone ever talks about the country. Even news articles, sometimes. I've even seen it in subtitles in films.

"Rumania" is actually valid. http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Rumanian/Rumanian_vs_Romanian.html

Prowler
09-29-2017, 01:08 PM
It's all over the place, anytime anyone ever talks about the country. Even news articles, sometimes. I've even seen it in subtitles in films.

"Rumania" is actually valid. http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Rumanian/Rumanian_vs_Romanian.html
That's odd.

FWIW, in Portuguese it's "ColŰmbia".

Didn't know that about Romania. Interesting.

plastroncafe
09-29-2017, 01:24 PM
Best I got is being mistaken for a New Yorker.

IndigoErth
09-29-2017, 01:27 PM
White American... hard to mistake me for anything else. (Since my nationality would be the U.S., sans most genetic ties elsewhere.) And no one over here is going to care about asking about the ancestral background. They're going to assume European, probably mostly what is now the UK - the end. (The only bit that isn't white is the dash of Native thrown in for flavor, but very unlikely anyone is going to notice that.)

Prowler
09-29-2017, 01:28 PM
Best I got is being mistaken for a New Yorker.
Why did that happen? Your accent? The way you dress? Something else?

Btw, ever heard about the Europeans spotting American tourists a mile away thing? Well... I can't say I can do that tbh. The easiest tourists for me to spot are Germans BY FAR. They have AWFUL fashion sense. Especially the older men. They sure love socks and sandals and white t shirt with camera around their neck look.

Dutch tourists are not so hard to spot either, since they seem to have lots of people who are tall enough to be pro basketball players, including women.

Andrew NDB
09-29-2017, 01:28 PM
Best I got is being mistaken for a New Yorker.

I could see that. Or Jersey.

plastroncafe
09-29-2017, 01:30 PM
I could see that. Or Jersey.

I've a lot of family in Jersey.
None that I talk to, of course...but they're there.

IndigoErth
09-29-2017, 01:35 PM
Jersey? I can't see mistaking Boston or New Yorkers for Jersey. Unless the south Jersians I'm used around here (since the state is next door) sound different than the north end.

Boston and NY I can see. That isn't as well differentiated when you get down my way in the lower edge of the northeast/Mid-Atlantic and I admit I might not always be able to tell which is which.

plastroncafe
09-29-2017, 01:40 PM
Jersey? I can't see mistaking Boston or New Yorkers for Jersey. Unless the south Jersians I'm used around here (since the state is next door) sound different than the north end.

Boston and NY I can see. That isn't as well differentiated when you get down my way in the lower edge of the northeast/Mid-Atlantic and I admit I might not always be able to tell which is which.

The sheer number of people who hear New York out of Denis Leary, and not Worcester, Ma...astound me.

Prowler
09-29-2017, 01:42 PM
Since yo guys are talking about accents, I must say I can't tell the difference between a standard American accent and a Canadian one. If i watch a cartoon, movie or tv show set in Canada with Canadian actors I always assume they're American until they mention they're Canadian or something.

I know there are lots of different accents in NA, but if I hear a guy from Canada speak... I'll always think he is American until proven otherwise.

CyberCubed
09-29-2017, 03:06 PM
Some Canadians place heavy accents on their "a's" in almost the same way British or Australian people do.

Americans don't do that.

Cure
09-29-2017, 04:56 PM
Yeah. Filipino nurses ask me if I'm Filipino aaaaalllllll the time.

Utrommaniac
09-29-2017, 04:59 PM
Not really from another country, but from another state.

I grew up in Texas, but some people say I have a northern accent. My dad is from Ohio, so...

ToTheNines
09-29-2017, 04:59 PM
Yeah. Filipino nurses ask me if I'm Filipino aaaaalllllll the time.

I'd always assumed that, based on pictures you've shared over the years. Just recently learned of your Latino-ness.

Papenbrook
09-29-2017, 05:34 PM
I have not been mistaken for another nationality, nor have I been misidentified racially.

However, I have been incorrectly identified as a male, at least online.

Cure
09-29-2017, 05:37 PM
I'd always assumed that, based on pictures you've shared over the years. Just recently learned of your Latino-ness.

Haha yeah, been getting it all my life.

Remember that one time Davetello thought I was black? Hoo boy, first and last time I ever got that one.

ToTheNines
09-29-2017, 05:43 PM
Haha yeah, been getting it all my life.

Remember that one time Davetello thought I was black? Hoo boy, first and last time I ever got that one.

Hahaha, what a freakshow. Gotta love the internet.

IndigoErth
09-29-2017, 06:14 PM
IHowever, I have been incorrectly identified as a male, at least online.
Think that happens to the majority of women. Good old online/gaming default assumptions.

Powder
09-29-2017, 06:15 PM
I've had people assume I was black based on my voice a few times but that's about it. I'm very obviously white on sight.

PApagreg
09-29-2017, 06:26 PM
People say I sound British despite me being born and raised in North Carolina

Utrommaniac
09-29-2017, 06:44 PM
However, I have been incorrectly identified as a male, at least online.

I've had that happen too. Even here on more than one occasion

ToTheNines
09-29-2017, 06:47 PM
Think that happens to the majority of women. Good old online/gaming default assumptions.

I don't think it's an online/gaming thing. My dogs are girls, and people always assume they're boys. Vice versa for my kitty.

TurtleWA
09-29-2017, 07:34 PM
From my experience it's not just gamers. More likely it's the not knowing the person and needing to make a guess. I think a lot of people just assume you belong to a dominant group so guess male. Especially is the person trying to guess is already a member of several dominant groups. Male, White, Able-bodied, Heterosexual, Christian, Middle class, Middle aged, English speaking. Of course there are exceptions. But if there's uncertainty about something guess goes to the dominant.

Storm Eagle
09-29-2017, 07:54 PM
I'm black, and I've been told that I can pass for a Dominican. Then again, a lot of dark-skinned Dominicans can pass for black. It might be why a few people have come up to me thinking I speak Spanish, even though it hasn't happened often, or happened in a while.

I've also been told that I don't sound black.

CyberCubed
09-29-2017, 08:50 PM
I never understood why so many strangers or people you meet for the first time always ask you your nationality. It's like they're trying to judge you in case you're part of a race they have a bias against or something.

Every time I've started a new job or went somewhere I've never been before, I always get asked, "What are you? What's your nationality?" Like...why the hell do you care? I'm white, isn't that enough? Do I have to give you my whole backstory?

It's actually an annoying question. If I wasn't white I'd probably be even more annoyed by people constantly asking, "What are you?" WTF do you care?

newfan
09-30-2017, 02:27 AM
I suppose on-line (no pics/names/other identifiers) you can get an incorrect image of someone, there have been maybe 2 members on here that for some reason I imagined to be female but they were male. Course you figure it out quickly.

Prowler
09-30-2017, 02:40 AM
Some Canadians place heavy accents on their "a's" in almost the same way British or Australian people do.

Americans don't do that.
Ah interesting. thanks for the info.

Not really from another country, but from another state.

I grew up in Texas, but some people say I have a northern accent. My dad is from Ohio, so...
I was surprised when I learned you were younger than me.


Remember that one time Davetello thought I was black?
Huh?

Think that happens to the majority of women. Good old online/gaming default assumptions.
Tbh, online communities usually have way more active male than female users. The Drome is the only forum on the internet I've been part of where the number of male and female users is pretty even.

People say I sound British despite me being born and raised in North Carolina
Does this mean people think you sound classy?

I never understood why so many strangers or people you meet for the first time always ask you your nationality. It's like they're trying to judge you in case you're part of a race they have a bias against or something.

Every time I've started a new job or went somewhere I've never been before, I always get asked, "What are you? What's your nationality?" Like...why the hell do you care? I'm white, isn't that enough? Do I have to give you my whole backstory?

It's actually an annoying question. If I wasn't white I'd probably be even more annoyed by people constantly asking, "What are you?" WTF do you care?

Like what, out of the blue when they still barely know you? That seems rather rude and intrusive. I could see that if you were foreign... but you're American just like them. So why does that happen?

I suppose on-line (no pics/names/other identifiers) you can get an incorrect image of someone, there have been maybe 2 members on here that for some reason I imagined to be female but they were male. Course you figure it out quickly.
More often I take female users for being male than the other way around. Sometimes male users can fool you, though.

Powder
09-30-2017, 04:08 AM
For a time, my avatar was that of a Japanese girl (pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) & during that period a good 3-4 people made remarks about me being a girl. :tlol:

Mayhem
09-30-2017, 04:16 AM
Most people have figured out I'm British when I'm in the US. Had someone think I was Canadian, or Australian once.

Funniest time was in a bagel shop in Long Island, and overheard my accent, and thought I was putting it on :lol: had to convince them that yes, I was actually British :P

Prowler
09-30-2017, 04:19 AM
For a time, my avatar was that of a Japanese girl (pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) & during that period a good 3-4 people made remarks about me being a girl. :tlol:
I had a K pop girl(BoA) as my avatar once, but no one thought I was a girl at the time. A couple of users asked me what her name was though since they found her good looking.

Candy Kappa
09-30-2017, 07:06 AM
I've been asked several times if I'm Scottish, the most condescending one was a guy at one of my old jobs said "please don't be Scottish. You're freckled ginger, you'd be a walking stereotype" Which he said right after name introductions, classy. The funniest one was when I was studying in UK and I was walking to my apartment wearing tartan colors. A large Scottish guy with a super heavy accent stopped me for a chat and when I told him I wasn't Scottish but I did have Scottish ancestry that was a part of the Gunpowder Plot he got really excited about it.

IndigoErth
09-30-2017, 02:32 PM
I never understood why so many strangers or people you meet for the first time always ask you your nationality. It's like they're trying to judge you in case you're part of a race they have a bias against or something.

Every time I've started a new job or went somewhere I've never been before, I always get asked, "What are you? What's your nationality?" Like...why the hell do you care? I'm white, isn't that enough? Do I have to give you my whole backstory?

It's actually an annoying question. If I wasn't white I'd probably be even more annoyed by people constantly asking, "What are you?" WTF do you care?
You are seriously the only white person I've ever heard of with this problem. :tlol:

Or anyone really, besides those that actually look like a curious mix of heritage.

You live in a hotbed capital of genealogy of the U.S. or something? Everyone there obsessed with it?

CyberCubed
09-30-2017, 04:02 PM
I live in New York so yes being white makes me "stand out" a bit. Most of my jobs actually do not have many white people. Mostly consisting of either hispanics, indians, blacks, asians, etc.

Most of the time I'm the only white guy there, so that's probably why i get asked.

ToTheNines
09-30-2017, 04:09 PM
You're also weird as all fu**, so that might have something to do with it.

Storm Eagle
09-30-2017, 07:58 PM
I live in New York so yes being white makes me "stand out" a bit. Most of my jobs actually do not have many white people. Mostly consisting of either hispanics, indians, blacks, asians, etc.

Most of the time I'm the only white guy there, so that's probably why i get asked.

Now I think I see where you're coming from.

My high school had a good mix of races when I started out, but the white kids seemed to be on their way out every year I was in the school. In one of my classes in freshman year, this black girl asked a white girl if she was Puerto Rican. Of course she wasn't. So I guess sometimes minorities can't believe they have a white person wherever they are.

CyberCubed
09-30-2017, 08:36 PM
Sometimes it seems like whites are becoming the minority in New York, at least around the Queens or Manhattan areas. There's a lot of Russian Jews around here, but that's about it. All the white business executives who work in Manhattan are about the only exception or in wall street.

IndigoErth
10-01-2017, 01:51 PM
So basically you're a unicorn.

DarkFell
10-01-2017, 02:03 PM
Be it mistaken nationality or otherwise, I will get asked "Where you from?" Once I was even asked "You're not from here, are you?"

I will ask if it is because of my accent, and usually they'll nod their heads. (I guess I don't sound very Southern.)

Prowler
10-01-2017, 02:12 PM
You're also weird as all fu**, so that might have something to do with it.
Yeah perhaps they're trying to know if CyberCubed is an alien or something. And I don't mean alien in the immigration sense. :trazz:

CyberCubed
10-01-2017, 02:37 PM
I generally rarely work in jobs with white people. Everyone is always mixed. Only a few whites are the 50-60+ year olds who have been working there since like the 80's or something and never left their jobs and are all supervisors/managers now.

I guess some of you don't realize how culturally diverse New York is? People don't really view others by their races here, it's almost impossible given everyone is something else.

I don't know how things are down south, but up here in the educated north where people treat each with dignity and respect, there is mutual understanding here. I mean sure you'll see some racist people from time to time, but it's rare unless you're talking about 60+ year old coots who remember 1950's America.

Prowler
10-01-2017, 03:50 PM
I was starting to miss CyberCubed the Democrat.

IndigoErth
10-01-2017, 04:47 PM
Not even gonna touch that one. :tlol:

Katie
10-01-2017, 10:49 PM
You're also weird as all fu**, so that might have something to do with it.

I always get a little Norman Bates vibe from Cubed. TV show Bates.

I actually think Strykerís dad works with him at the airport. I must investigate further if he is one of so few white guys there. Not too hard to figure him out. :P
Next time we fly up I may speak.

TurtleWA
10-02-2017, 12:42 AM
I always get a little Norman Bates vibe from Cubed. TV show Bates.

I actually think Strykerís dad works with him at the airport. I must investigate further if he is one of so few white guys there. Not too hard to figure him out. :P
Next time we fly up I may speak.

Cubed is TSA?

ProactiveMan
10-02-2017, 03:57 AM
I was asked if I spoke English last time I was in London. I guess I look like I don't.

Other Australians sometimes mistake me for an American, or someone who has lived there at some point, which I haven't. I'm not 100% sure why, but my guess is; my voice is in a pretty low register and I don't speak very loudly, so I over-enunciate when I'm in even slightly noisy environments in order to be understood. If I talk loudly without doing this, I sound too aggressive and people put their guard up.

Katie
10-02-2017, 06:42 AM
Cubed is TSA?

Not unless heís changed jobs.

Strykerís dad knows everyone though.

Prowler
10-02-2017, 07:09 AM
I always get a little Norman Bates vibe from Cubed. TV show Bates.

I actually think Strykerís dad works with him at the airport. I must investigate further if he is one of so few white guys there. Not too hard to figure him out. :P
Next time we fly up I may speak.
Wait what. Talk about a small world, huh? O_o

...but how can you be so sure both work for the same company?

Please, let it remain a mystery. DOn't ruin CC's aura :lol:

Ninturtle
10-02-2017, 07:21 AM
I get mistaken for black all the time in Florida even though I'm Puerto Rican and Dominican, this never happened to me when I lived in New York City. I guess with all the diversity New Yorkers can tell the difference between African Americans and Hislanics.

Prowler
10-02-2017, 07:39 AM
I get mistaken for black all the time in Florida even though I'm Puerto Rican and Dominican, this never happened to me when I lived in New York City. I guess with all the diversity New Yorkers can tell the difference between African Americans and Hislanics.
When I was a kid I used to think black people all looked very similar or the same. I used to have trouble telling some of them apart. But as I've met more and saw more on TV I've never made such a mistake again. Same for Chinese and Japanese people. Used to have trouble telling each of them apart when I was younger. Nowadays I don't have any trouble at all. Also, when I see Asian tourists, if I think someone is Japanese I'm always right. I dunno what it is about Japanese people, but they're very easy to spot. Must be the way they dress and their mannerisms that gives them away.

TurtleWA
10-02-2017, 10:25 AM
Strykerís dad knows everyone though.

I'm not sure who Stryker's dad is or Stryker either?

Katie
10-02-2017, 11:57 AM
Stryker was a member here. He left this place awhile back.

TurtleWA
10-02-2017, 02:59 PM
Stryker was a member here. He left this place awhile back.

Oh okay. :)

ToTheNines
10-02-2017, 03:50 PM
I always get a little Norman Bates vibe from Cubed. TV show Bates.

I actually think Strykerís dad works with him at the airport. I must investigate further if he is one of so few white guys there. Not too hard to figure him out. :P
Next time we fly up I may speak.

Ha, small world.

Slade
10-02-2017, 05:12 PM
Mexican and Mixed white/black. All the time.

Prowler
10-04-2017, 01:06 PM
A bit OT, but what about when someone just knows what your nationality is from looking at you, before you even open your mouth? As I said in my OP, in Tunisia this guy at the hotel assumed my family and I were Bulgarians or Yugoslavs, but that was the only case. In fact, in Tunisia it was the total opposite. There were like 5 instances or so where the locals would start saying "oh Portuguese" when they saw us, even without us needing to open our mouths at times. Maybe Tunisia gets a lot of Portuguese tourists and they know how identify us? Dunno. Usually when I travel abroad people don't seem to know where I'm from. And when they ask(if they do, which is rare) they don't seem to expect the answer. Perhaps because Portugal is a small country with 10 million people and thus people from other countries in general don't see us as much as they see English, Germans, Italians, Americans, Chinese, etc. Therefore it's harder for them to pinpoint a Portuguese person when they don't have a very large sample size to draw from. I mean, if I saw a Slovak or a Lithuanian, I probably could never guess either.

I've noticed that many Europeans can smell an American tourist away. Well I cannot do that myself, but I can smell a German tourist away, even before they open their mouths :lol:

shuriken
10-04-2017, 06:06 PM
Mexican on account of my folks, and American on account of being born here.
Been mistaken for being white, Jewish, and Italian.

drag0nfeathers
10-05-2017, 07:33 PM
People at work come up to me and talk to me in Portuguese all the time, assuming I am Portuguese and know how to speak it. Not a clue.
100% Italian

Prowler
10-06-2017, 12:50 PM
People at work come up to me and talk to me in Portuguese all the time, assuming I am Portuguese and know how to speak it. Not a clue.
100% Italian
Maybe you live or work in an area with several Portuguese people or people of Portuguese ancestry, and thus people assume you also must be one? :P