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Post Reply Are You Ambiguously Ethnic?
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34 / F / US
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Posted 4/24/15
Odd title but had an incident today. Filling out forms with the county for my business licencing update and the form didn't have a mixed option. The lady, in going over it, said "you checked other so I'll just put it under white". When I told her I'm not white, I'm mixed she was floored then got angry. Why, I've no idea. But she was angry because 'how was I supposed to know you're mixed? You're so ambiguously ethnic".

I've NEVER heard the phrase before but I kind of like it in a tongue in cheek way.

So most people consider me white, Asians pick out the Japanese usually. Was wondering if anyone else has that? People assuming you're some race or such when you're not? Or outright asking 'what the hell are you?". Tell me your funny stories, I'll tell you mine.
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23 / M / AZ
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Posted 4/24/15
I had to check "white" when filling out immigration forms.
Most Mexicans are a mix of European and and native blood so it can get confusing at times.
A group of Filipinos thought I was one of them once
A Mexican lady asked me if I was "one of the them", she was referring to Indians
Posted 4/24/15
I'm not ethnic, but a friend of mine is Italian/Indian. A lot of people assume she's middle eastern, it kind of bums her out sometimes when others make assumptions about her.
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Posted 4/24/15 , edited 4/24/15

retronatrix wrote:

...The lady, in going over it, said "you checked other so I'll just put it under white".


*jaw drop*

Wow. So there was a checkbox for Other, but no write-in line for what your other is? Also it seems to me that if she was unsure of where to put it when you checked "Other" she might have asked where you would prefer she put it, and let you know what the real options were in whatever bureaucracy she was trapped in. Her assumption there was pretty inappropriate, regardless of how white you looked to her.

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Posted 4/24/15
I could say I'm Chinese, or I could say I'm Jamaican... don't ask me how that works. Not even we know how we got there XD
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Posted 4/24/15
I actually laugh about being ambiguously ethnic. I'm Latino, but not particularly dark skinned. Depending on how tan I am, and if I have a beard, I can appear white, Italian, Greek, or Arab.

The best thing about being ambiguously ethnic is that people kind of take a long look at me to decide what I am, before going off on their racist rants. Then I love to see the look on their face when I ask them what they thought I was.
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Posted 4/24/15
For some people I am. Others just go with the black description. We don't have ethnicity stated on birth certificates in the UK but when you go for a blood test in the UK there's a section where they try to put your ethnicity. I only noticed when the doc thought I looked anaemic so sent me for testing when I was a teen. I went home complaining to mother that they wanted blood. Mother noticed that they'd got my ethnicity wrong. I tend to get the what are you question or what am I mixed with. Some other family members are the same too.
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Posted 4/24/15 , edited 4/24/15

HuastecoOtaku wrote:

I had to check "white" when filling out immigration forms.
Most Mexicans are a mix of European and and native blood so it can get confusing at times.
A group of Filipinos thought I was one of them once
A Mexican lady asked me if I was "one of the them", she was referring to Indians


As politically incorrect as it is these days I LOVE studying racial and ethnic groups and their physical traits. I just find it so intriguing and mazing to see how typical racial traits act and interaction between themselves and others.

Mexican ethnography is just stunning as far as interplay between features. Then there's the cultural aspects and details....just wow.
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Posted 4/24/15

lorreen wrote:
whatever bureaucracy she was trapped in. Her assumption there was pretty inappropriate, regardless of how white you looked to her.



The irony of it is she's Jamaican mixed with Trinidadian Indian. So she flips when anyone calls her black or African American. Some people.

Posted 4/24/15
No? Most people usually get it right.
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Posted 4/24/15 , edited 5/6/15

retronatrix wrote:


lorreen wrote:
whatever bureaucracy she was trapped in. Her assumption there was pretty inappropriate, regardless of how white you looked to her.



The irony of it is she's Jamaican mixed with Trinidadian Indian. So she flips when anyone calls her black or African American. Some people.



In the Caribbean many people who have some African and or Asian ancestors but look white or near to it are sometimes just called white even if elsewhere some of them are too dark to be considered white. That also happens sometimes in Europe. In the USA things are different.

I grew up assuming everyone is mixed even if the mix is generations ago and that's for people who are or appear to be European, African or Asian. It kind of surprises me when they say they're not.
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Posted 4/24/15
Throwing out random percentages, I'd say about 70% of my friends and peers knew I was mixed with White and something else (the 30% thinking I'm full White). Most people who could tell that I was mixed, could tell that the other half was Asian. Still, most of my high school teachers pronounced Haruta as Huerta.

I've had someone pull up to me while I was working and threaten me for being white. I told the guy I was Japanese and he was like-



He said "oh," wrapped up what he needed to say and drove away.
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Posted 4/24/15 , edited 4/24/15
A girl I know is constantly thought to be Hispanic, her family is actually from the middle east.
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43 / M
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Posted 4/24/15
I'm 1/4 chinese.
When I was a child I looked very chinese.
Now most people think I'm white - if it's pointed out, they can see _something_, but not otherwise.
Posted 4/24/15
Ugh, these things always confuse me to no end. More often than not, I just feel like asking "What does it even matter?" - wish THAT was a box to check on these forms.

I'd really rather not get into it though - but I guess to some extent I could be considered "ambiguously ethnic". I'm mixed, but my mother herself is also mixed. And I have certain.... qualities that almost seem to override any other physical characteristics.

I don't really associate myself with any ethnicity, though I guess i'm "supposed to". I prefer the internet where I am clearly and unambiguously feline
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