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joebuck20
05-27-2010, 07:26 AM
In the American Idol thread a lot of people seemed surprised that Joe Cocker was white.
Personally, I had always assumed that KC of KC and the Sunshine Band was black. Then during the Super Bowl in Houston a few years back I happened to see a picture of him and was stunned to learn that he was white.
Who are some other celebrities that you always thought were of a different race.

Zeldar
05-27-2010, 08:17 AM
I was fairly late realizing that Gregg Allman was white. His Laid Back album version of Midnight Rider was on the radio and I assumed he was black. Later on, after I knew his actual race, I really got into the ABB, several years after Duane and Berry were already dead.

Bijou Drains
05-27-2010, 08:51 AM
Not me but some people assumed Buddy Holly was black. He was booked to play the Apollo in NYC and the manager was shocked when he showed up as a white guy.

CalMeacham
05-27-2010, 08:56 AM
I always assumed that actor Khigh Dhiegh* was of oriental ancestry -- Chinese or Japanese or something. He played the Red Chinese agent Wo Fat on Hawaii Five-O and played the lead in the TV movie Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders (which had an all-oriental cast**, instead of using Caucasians to play Chinese characters). Most of his career was spent playing Chinese or Japanese characters.


it turns out that he has no oriental ancestry at all. According to iMDB he's of "Anglo-Egyptian-Sudanese" ancestry, and was born in New Jersey. His real name was Kenneth Dickerson, Jr., and the various spellings of his stage name are sorta phonetic equivalents of his initials. I don't know if iMDB means that his ancesters were from Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, or if he had an English Parent and a Sudanese one, or what. Wikipedia says that he has "mixed North African" ancestry.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0223556/bio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khigh_Dhiegh

*who also spelled his name Keie Deei and Kaie Deei

**except, I now realize, for the lead actor himself!

Stormcrow
05-27-2010, 09:01 AM
This reminds me of a Bill James quote about race and baseball:

Did you ever notice that players named “White” are almost always black, and players named “Black” are usually white? Why is that? The last White major leaguer who was actually white was Mike White, who played for Houston in the early sixties. Since then we’ve had Bill White, Roy White, Frank White and Jerry White, all of whom were black; Mike White probably would have been black except that his father played in the majors in the thirties and they didn’t allow you to be black then. The Royals also had a Black on their roster, Bud, who of course is white; in fact, the Royals had to set some sort of record by having four colored people on their team. White, Black, Blue and Brown. Scott Brown is not any browner than anybody else, Vida is definitely not blue, nor for that matter is Darryl Motley. I suppose that it is the nature of names, as with Peacekeeping Missiles and Security Police, to disguise the truth more often than they reveal it. Horace Speed stole only four bases in his career, Vic Power was a singles hitter, Bill Goodenough was not good enough, and Joe Blong did not belong for long.

jayjay
05-27-2010, 09:21 AM
Somewhat notoriously, many people thought that Rick Astley was black when he first started getting radio play. The Howdy-Doody-like actual looks when those people saw his videos was a shock.

John Mace
05-27-2010, 09:25 AM
Back when "Holding Back the Tears" was a hit, I not only assume the lead singer of Simply Red was Black, but I also assume he was female.

joebuck20
05-27-2010, 09:25 AM
Somewhat notoriously, many people thought that Rick Astley was black when he first started getting radio play. The Howdy-Doody-like actual looks when those people saw his videos was a shock.

On the flip side, I recall stories of how people assumed that Charley Pride was white when he first became famous. Of course it didn't help that when they first started sending his records out to country radio stations they didn't include his picture

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
05-27-2010, 09:26 AM
When I first heard Leo Sayer (http://www.comicgenius.com/DiscoFever/disco_profiles/leo_sayer/images/leo2.jpg), his singing style was similar (to my ears) to Eddie Kendrick of "The Temptations," so that's the image I had formed in my mind.

Similarly, when I first heard blind singer Terri Gibbs, I thought the singer was male.

Bijou Drains
05-27-2010, 09:26 AM
I wasnt sure about Mariah Carey's race , she is 1/2 black.

GrandWino
05-27-2010, 10:10 AM
Somewhat notoriously, many people thought that Rick Astley was black when he first started getting radio play. The Howdy-Doody-like actual looks when those people saw his videos was a shock.

Same thing w/ Buddy Holly. I love the scene in The Buddy Holly Story where he gets booked to play the Apollo Theater in NYC and the crowd is stunned when a white guy comes out on stage.

I thought Norah Jones was black for the longest time.

Annie-Xmas
05-27-2010, 10:14 AM
Johnny and Edgar Winter. Two brothers who sound black, but are white.......albinos.

Leaffan
05-27-2010, 10:18 AM
Steve Perry (of Journey fame) is Portuguese; and boy does he ever look (http://cherrybombed.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/steve-perry-of-journey-is-59-12208.jpg) it now.

ZipperJJ
05-27-2010, 10:19 AM
I keep forgetting that Rashida Jones (http://www.reelmovienews.com/gallery/rashida-jones-pic/) is the daughter of Quincy Jones. Granted, her mother is white (Jewish, actually) but it just seems awkward to me that she is the daughter of one of the most famous black guys around today.

She's quite beautiful, though.

joebuck20
05-27-2010, 10:20 AM
Not a different race, per se, but I had assumed Alfred Molina was Latin American. Then I read an interview with him that mentioned he was British (albeit of Spanish descent).

Bijou Drains
05-27-2010, 10:30 AM
Norah Jones is 1/2 Asian Indian. Her father is Ravi Shankar.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
05-27-2010, 10:39 AM
I always assumed that actor Khigh Dhiegh* was of oriental ancestry

That's who I was going to mention!

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
05-27-2010, 10:45 AM
I always assumed that actor Khigh Dhiegh* was of oriental ancestry -- Chinese or Japanese or something. He played the Red Chinese agent Wo Fat on Hawaii Five-O. . . . Also, a fair number of the Yellow Peril guest villains in H50 were played by Jews, sometimes ridiculously so.

BubbaDog
05-27-2010, 12:00 PM
Noah Hunt (http://www.noahhunt.com/biography) whose deep bluesy voice is featured on Kenny Wayne Shepherd songs (biggest hit was Blue on Black) sounds like he's a 50+ year old black blues singer. He's actually a fairly young white man.

I was disappointed when I attended a Jimi Hendrix tribute performance and Living Colour's lead vocalist got to sing "All along the watchtower" in the finally.

Kenny Wayne Sheperd was a contributing performer and he had Noah Hunt with him.
So they let the shrieking tenor sing the song while backstage the man with the perfect voice that captured Jimi's vocal range was just standing there listening to the music.

MovieMogul
05-27-2010, 12:15 PM
Norah Jones is 1/2 Asian Indian. Her father is Ravi Shankar.Wow! :eek: Well, I'll be...

ministryman
05-27-2010, 12:24 PM
I thought the person who sings "Goodbye Horses" was a white man. Turns out that "he" is a black woman....doh!

Shoeless
05-27-2010, 12:32 PM
Along with many other blues musicians already mentioned, I thought for sure that Stevie Ray Vaughan was black the first time I heard him.

notfrommensa
05-27-2010, 12:41 PM
Back in the 80's I took a date to see Percy Sledge at a honkytonk in Mississippi. She was shocked that he was black. I was shocked that she was shocked.

WOOKINPANUB
05-27-2010, 12:58 PM
Back when Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know" first came out I pictured her as some spunky. . . black something or other. It was kind of disappoining to see a lily white, somewhat frumpy Canadian. Not that I don't dig her and her music, she just didn't match what was in my mind's eye.

For the longest time I was sure Natalie Merchant was from another country due to that annoying phrasing and weird accent she sings with.

Hi Medlo
05-27-2010, 01:27 PM
Charlie Pride used to tell a story about one of his early gigs when he started to achieve some fame. He arrived at a venue and the manager looked shocked and said "I didn't know you was a collored guy!"
I thought country singer Neal McCoy was black, or with some black ancestry, but his father is of Scottish ancestry and his mom is from the Philipines. And his birth name is actually McGaughey, pronounced "McGoy"

Cat Jones
05-27-2010, 01:35 PM
It was only reading an obitury that I discovered Freddie Mercury (http://www.persianmirror.com/culture/famous/bios/mercury.cfm) wasn't white/European.

BigT
05-27-2010, 01:47 PM
I tend to think that African American cartoon characters (especially those who use AAVE and/or the usual accent that accompanies it) are played by black people. For example, I thought Cleavland Brown was played by a black guy. I don't he quite speaks AAVE, but he sounds very "black" to me.

Munch
05-27-2010, 01:48 PM
Somewhat notoriously, many people thought that Rick Astley was black when he first started getting radio play. The Howdy-Doody-like actual looks when those people saw his videos was a shock.

What, no link?

ZipperJJ
05-27-2010, 01:54 PM
I tend to think that African American cartoon characters (especially those who use AAVE and/or the usual accent that accompanies it) are played by black people. For example, I thought Cleavland Brown was played by a black guy. I don't he quite speaks AAVE, but he sounds very "black" to me.

Elmo (of Sesame Street) is a black guy :)

joebuck20
05-27-2010, 01:57 PM
Also, isn't Frylock black?

Zsofia
05-27-2010, 01:59 PM
In the 90's when I just heard them on the radio I just assumed Ace of Base was a group of black ladies. Was shocked when I saw their videos - they're not just white, they're really white. Scandinavian, even, I think.

jayjay
05-27-2010, 02:12 PM
What, no link?

I didn't want to break my "Never rickrolled anybody" record. :)

Elmo (of Sesame Street) is a black guy :)

Kevin Clash. The Palpatine of the Muppet Republic...

campp
05-27-2010, 02:26 PM
I took a date to see Boz Scaggs. She was shocked he was white.

pbbth
05-27-2010, 03:17 PM
Before I tell you who my celebrity mix-up is you have to promise not to laugh. You promise? Good.

Up until about a year ago I thought that Neil Armstrong was black. stop laughing I don't think I ever saw a picture of him outside of his spacesuit and as a child I just assumed that he was black and that was the mental image that stuck with me. Then about a year ago I saw a picture labeled Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and laughed. I showed it to my fiance and pointed out that they had the wrong picture because that guy with Buzz Alrin obviously wasn't Neil Armstrong! He was the completely wrong color! They might as well have shown Buzz Aldrin with Betty White! seriously, stop laughing He just laughed and said that Neil Armstrong was indeed the man in the picture and that I earned a couple of dingbat points for that one.

Freudian Slit
05-27-2010, 03:27 PM
I wasnt sure about Mariah Carey's race , she is 1/2 black.

I read that, and I've read people saying she looks ambiguous, or like in the movie Precious, Precious says something about her being some weird mixed race lady. I had no idea she was part black until I was told--if I hadn't, I would have just thought white person. Am I not seeing something that's really obvious?

I also used to think Dusty Springfield was black until I saw pictures of her. That's why they call it blue eyed soul! :)

pravnik
05-27-2010, 03:27 PM
Norah Jones is 1/2 Asian Indian. Her father is Ravi Shankar.Wow! :eek: Well, I'll be... Same here! :eek:

CalMeacham
05-27-2010, 03:28 PM
Up until about a year ago I thought that Neil Armstrong was black. stop laughing

I'm not laughing, but I'm curious. Why did you think Neil Armstrong was black? Is his name particularly "black", or did you just somehgow have the idea from some inkling that he must be black, and just never checked?

descamisado
05-27-2010, 03:32 PM
I was still watching Saturday Night Live occasionally when Maya Rudolph was still on.

Not only did I not know she was mixed race ('though I did wonder why she always played the "ethnic" characters), I didn't know until recently her mother was Minnie Riperton.

FordTaurusSHO94
05-27-2010, 03:35 PM
I'm not laughing, but I'm curious. Why did you think Neil Armstrong was black? Is his name particularly "black", or did you just somehgow have the idea from some inkling that he must be black, and just never checked?

Confusion with Louis Armstrong?

"They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was going to the moon. Now he's up there, laughing at them!"

Speak to me Maddie!
05-27-2010, 03:37 PM
It was only reading an obitury that I discovered Freddie Mercury (http://www.persianmirror.com/culture/famous/bios/mercury.cfm) wasn't white/European.
Interesting. I didn't know that either. I came to the thread to mention Freddie Mercury. My brother says that he and all his friends thought Mercury was black and that Queen was a "black band" all the way up until Another One Bites the Dust which had an accompanying video for TV. Seems weird to me, but it was a little before my time.

multimediac17
05-27-2010, 03:43 PM
I came in to say Mariah Carey, I had no idea she was mixed race. If I had never been told I would have always assumed she was white.

Another notorious case is that of Madonna, when her first single 'Everybody' came out there was no picture on the sleeve and no video, and she was widely mistaken for a new black artist.

Meltdown
05-27-2010, 03:49 PM
I thought the person who sings "Goodbye Horses" was a white man. Turns out that "he" is a black woman....doh!

Wow. Until this very moment, I thought the same thing. In fact, I was so sure you must be wrong (or thinking of someone else doing a cover version), that I was going to post a link to Wikipedia to show you that Q Lazzarus was indeed a white man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_Lazzarus

That was my education for the day. I think I can go home now.

koufax
05-27-2010, 03:53 PM
Michael McDonald...white man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk9mmto2Cdw

Peremensoe
05-27-2010, 04:19 PM
Why is the news of Norah Jones (http://www.cinecultist.com/archives/NorahJones.jpg)' ancestry surprising? Just the fact that it's famous Ravi Shankar?

She is easily within the range where she could pass for a north Indian native (http://www.indianmarriage.info/assets/ArticleImages/_resampled/ResizedImage400300-group_of_indian_girls_sarees.jpg).

Though I kinda like this pic (http://www.spring.net/music/norajones_sisanoshkajones.jpg) of her and (half) sister Anoushka, here looking like a couple chicas.

Skammer
05-27-2010, 04:30 PM
that guy with Buzz Alrin obviously wasn't Neil Armstrong! He was the completely wrong color! They might as well have shown Buzz Aldrin with Betty White! seriously, stop laughing. "And where's his trumpet?!" :D

Wrong Armstrong!

astro
05-27-2010, 04:38 PM
I thought the "I'm just a bill (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dVo3nbLYC0)" singer was black. He's not.

Equipoise
05-27-2010, 04:53 PM
I keep forgetting that Rashida Jones (http://www.reelmovienews.com/gallery/rashida-jones-pic/) is the daughter of Quincy Jones. Granted, her mother is white (Jewish, actually) but it just seems awkward to me that she is the daughter of one of the most famous black guys around today.

Wow, how could you mention "her mother" and not specify that it's the gorgeous Peggy Lipton (http://nyromania.air-nifty.com/photos/flim_flam_man/peggy.jpg)?? (probably best known for The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks. Her IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005152/) page)

She's quite beautiful, though.Yep. Great (http://us.movies1.yimg.com/movies.yahoo.com/images/hv/photo/movie_pix/revolution_studios/little_black_book/_group_photos/peggy_lipton26.jpg), great (http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee269/doves629/RashidaJonesPeggyLipton.jpg), great (http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u20/rjimages/k9.jpg) genes (http://images1.afamily.channelvn.net/Images/Uploaded/Share/2009/06/15/1244956348PeggyLiptonRashidaJones2.jpg). (From Dad (http://www.wma.com/quincy_jones/imgs/Quincy_Jones_2.jpg) too)

pbbth
05-27-2010, 05:02 PM
I'm not laughing, but I'm curious. Why did you think Neil Armstrong was black? Is his name particularly "black", or did you just somehgow have the idea from some inkling that he must be black, and just never checked?

The moon landing was long before I was born and as a child learning about the whole thing I only saw the pictures of men in space suits, never of their faces. I just decided as a child that obviously Neil Armstrong would be black. It made sense in my mind for some reason (not related to Louis Armstrong as I was about 5 and not familiar with Jazz...my dad was a big Rush fan and my mom listened to Billy Joel so I didn't get a whole lot of other music exposure.) I don't know if it was because the moon landing thing was around the same time as the civil rights movement or if it was because my teacher was black or what, but I totally thought that Neil Armstrong was black for the first 26 years of my life.

Freudian Slit
05-27-2010, 05:11 PM
I keep forgetting that Rashida Jones (http://www.reelmovienews.com/gallery/rashida-jones-pic/) is the daughter of Quincy Jones. Granted, her mother is white (Jewish, actually) but it just seems awkward to me that she is the daughter of one of the most famous black guys around today.

She's quite beautiful, though.

She is very beautiful...but why is the black father thing awkward? I'm not understanding that...

ETA: When I was a LOT younger I remember seeing a lot of black and white photos of Billy Joel and just assumed he was black.

Ellis Aponte Jr.
05-27-2010, 06:47 PM
Also, a fair number of the Yellow Peril guest villains in H50 were played by Jews, sometimes ridiculously so.
Mark Lenard played a Japanese guy in one episode ("To Hell With Babe Ruth").

Ridiculous, since everyone knows he's a Vulcan.

needscoffee
05-27-2010, 07:27 PM
I thought Armand Assante (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000800/) was French, but he's from NYC.

Fair Rarity
05-27-2010, 07:39 PM
I assumed Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield from Prison Break) was white, but that's not entirely true. According to his Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wentworth_Miller), "his father is of African-American, Jamaican, English, German, Jewish and Cherokee descent, and his mother is of Russian, French, Dutch, and Lebanese/Syrian ancestry."

John DiFool
05-27-2010, 07:58 PM
For me, this almost always happens with athletes, whom I usually first hear about from a box score or a stat line from over at say Baseball Reference. The latest victim was the recently-released Pat Burrell-his last name just sounds black, doesn't it? Noticed my error a few years ago when I casually tuned into a Phillies game and went, "Hey wait a minute..." when he came up to bat.

Jim's Son
05-27-2010, 09:24 PM
Another vote for Mariah Carey. I remember when he first album came out, a clerk at a CD store asked me what I thought about her. I told her the last thing the music industry needed was a white Whitney Houston.

River Hippie
05-27-2010, 09:32 PM
Back when "Holding Back the Tears" was a hit, I not only assume the lead singer of Simply Red was Black, but I also assume he was female.

Not sure about black but I thought it was a woman too. Also thought it was a woman singing on Led Zepplin II when I first heard it.

Justin_Bailey
05-27-2010, 09:38 PM
Because no thread on mistaken ethnicities is complete without this Family Guy quote about The Rock...

One's a baby, and the other's black, I think. At least part black, or Hispanic. I think you know possibly there's some Filipino in there, yeah possibly some Filipino. I mean if he, if he's black, it's definitely diluted. I mean one of his parents must be white. What the hell is Jessica Alba for that matter? If I were 40 years younger I would plow that till next July.

GuanoLad
05-27-2010, 10:13 PM
Back when "Holding Back the Tears" was a hit, I not only assume the lead singer of Simply Red was Black, but I also assume he was female.1) It's "Holding Back The Years."

2) He's certainly not black, Mick's red. Hence the name.

F. U. Shakespeare
05-27-2010, 10:38 PM
I'm still trying to decide about the great Mississippi blues musician Charlie Patton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Patton)

Audio and visual accounts conflict.

TreacherousCretin
05-27-2010, 10:39 PM
This goes back a ways, but because of "Ahab The Arab" and "Harry The Hairy Ape" I assumed Ray Stevens was black. Couldn't believe it when I found out he was white.

.

Sampiro
05-27-2010, 10:44 PM
Not a race so much as a nativity issue: I thought that Cesar Romero grew up in Cuba and Europe, but he was born and reared in NYC. Like Desi Arnaz he was from an extremely rich family that became penniless during the Depression due to the collapse of the sugar industry and destruction of family owned farms in Cuba (though they lived in NYC Cuba was still the source of their income) by revolutionaries and bandits.

I always think of Anthony Quinn as Meditteranean of some ilk, I suppose because he played Zorba and in any number of biblical movies. He was the son of an Irish father and a Mexican mother.

Hippy Hollow
05-28-2010, 03:16 AM
The moon landing was long before I was born and as a child learning about the whole thing I only saw the pictures of men in space suits, never of their faces. I just decided as a child that obviously Neil Armstrong would be black. It made sense in my mind for some reason (not related to Louis Armstrong as I was about 5 and not familiar with Jazz...my dad was a big Rush fan and my mom listened to Billy Joel so I didn't get a whole lot of other music exposure.) I don't know if it was because the moon landing thing was around the same time as the civil rights movement or if it was because my teacher was black or what, but I totally thought that Neil Armstrong was black for the first 26 years of my life.

Wow. Not having a go or anything, but wouldn't you think they'd talk about MLK, George Washington Carver, and Neil Armstrong every February if he was Black?

I'm not easily fooled, but I thought after hearing their first single, Ali Campbell from UB40 was Black. I saw them on Top of the Pops in the early 80s and thought one of the horn players was the lead singer. Then this little white dude starts singing... and I was quite confused.

EinsteinsHund
05-28-2010, 05:44 AM
I'm still trying to decide about the great Mississippi blues musician Charlie Patton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Patton)

Audio and visual accounts conflict.

Where's the conflict? :confused:

Mississippienne
05-28-2010, 05:51 AM
Norah Jones didn't surprise me. I've noticed that a lot of South Asian/white mixes often come out looking more like the white parent.

Re: Wentworth Miller, when he did The Human Stain I remember some misguided movie critic protesting that the mixed race character played by Miller and Anthony Hopkins was played "by two white guys". Forgetting, y'know, that Miller is legitimately mixed race.

A lot of people are still shocked that Jennifer Beals of Flashdance is half-black.

deadindays
05-28-2010, 06:04 AM
Terry Callier. Thought he was a white hippie.

BigT
05-28-2010, 06:59 AM
I wasnt sure about Mariah Carey's race , she is 1/2 black.

I remember reading that she identifies herself as black. But I'll admit she doesn't look nearly as black as our President. In fact, I think her skin has a more olive complexion, and I thought she was Puerto Rican, or of other Latin American decent.

Elmo (of Sesame Street) is a black guy :)

I had forgotten that. Yes, I was surprised by that, too, but, in an odd way, it fit. It really surprised me that it was the same guy all that time, as well. (While the puppet was used, it didn't portray the Elmo character until Clash took it.)

F. U. Shakespeare
05-28-2010, 06:59 AM
Where's the conflict? :confused:Patton's ancestry was about evenly divided between black, white and Choctah. His voice definitely sounds black, but people usually think he looks white in his one known photo. Blues singer Howlin Wolf knew him and said he looked Puerto Rican.

njtt
05-28-2010, 07:31 AM
I took a date to see Boz Scaggs. She was shocked he was white.

I thought Boz Scaggs was a skin disease, maybe a less sever form of Vitas Gerulaitis.

don't ask
05-28-2010, 07:59 AM
I thought Boz Scaggs was a skin disease, maybe a less sever form of Vitas Gerulaitis.

Glad I'm not the only one. I thought Tiger Woods was either a large carnivorous feline mammal or a tree. Apparently he is neither.

Rrose Selavy
05-28-2010, 09:25 AM
I thought Boz Scaggs was a skin disease, maybe a less sever form of Vitas Gerulaitis.

and Gore Vidal was an intestinal condition.

-

Anaamika
05-28-2010, 11:40 AM
Yeah, once I found out about Freddie Mercury, I decided I was claiming him for India.

So...no one else thought that Kid Rock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_rock) was black and the same guy as Chris Rock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Rock)? Like, Kid Rock was his stage name or something?

I swear I only discovered this when I started listening to Chris Rock's stand-up avidly - about 3 years ago.

EinsteinsHund
05-28-2010, 11:51 AM
Patton's ancestry was about evenly divided between black, white and Choctah. His voice definitely sounds black, but people usually think he looks white in his one known photo. Blues singer Howlin Wolf knew him and said he looked Puerto Rican.

Well, that's interesting, I didn't know that.

Mississippienne
05-28-2010, 02:35 PM
I remember reading that she identifies herself as black. But I'll admit she doesn't look nearly as black as our President. In fact, I think her skin has a more olive complexion, and I thought she was Puerto Rican, or of other Latin American decent.


Mariah Carey's paternal grandfather was from Venezuela. She is Irish, African, and Venezuelan in ancestry; you can see her ancestry detailed here (http://www.wargs.com/other/carey.html).

Maggie the Ocelot
05-28-2010, 03:22 PM
The first time I heard "Holiday" by that new group, Madonna, I assumed they had a Black lead singer.

Also, I still refuse to believe that Mariah Carey is any more Black than Celine Dion.

bup
05-28-2010, 03:37 PM
I think most of the world assumed Wolfman Jack was black until he 'came out' in the 1970's.

Here's a less cropped version of the one photo of Charley Patton. (http://web.ukonline.co.uk/pdcmusic/bestofcharleypatton.jpg) If you've ever heard him sing, it's the most bass, gravelly voice ever. Like James Earl Jones smoking for 3 weeks straight, then singing.

Then again, his guitar doesn't look right either. How could he get those sounds out of that overgrown ukulele?

pancakes3
05-28-2010, 03:51 PM
David Carradine confused the crap out of me when i was a kid.

also finding out the native american with the tear coming down in the litter ads was ethnically italian tripped me out too.

StusBlues
05-28-2010, 03:57 PM
The Rascals sounded like a black group to me for a good long while. Ditto the aforementioned Michael McDonald. Both were a bit before my time, so I was a bit late seeing footage.

foolsguinea
05-28-2010, 03:58 PM
Cheryl Burke. I thought she was mixed African American, she's actually a mix of Irish, Filipino, & Russian.

kelly5078
05-28-2010, 03:58 PM
also finding out the native american with the tear coming down in the litter ads was ethnically italian tripped me out too. That, I think, is the only one that ever fooled me.

elfkin477
05-28-2010, 04:28 PM
When I first heard their songs, I thought that Sophie B. Hawkins and G. Love were black, and Ben Harper and Jack Johnson were white.

teela brown
05-28-2010, 04:59 PM
For years, I thought Louis Prima was black. I was only recently set straight when I saw footage of him and his girl singer partner and girlfriend.

Justin_Bailey
05-28-2010, 05:03 PM
When I first heard their songs, I thought that Sophie B. Hawkins and G. Love were black, and Ben Harper and Jack Johnson were white.

Jack Johnson is white.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Johnson_(musician)

Cardinal
05-28-2010, 05:26 PM
London mayor Boris Johnson is famous for his wild shock of bright blond hair, but "On his father's side Johnson is a great-grandson of Ali Kemal Bey, a liberal Turkish journalist and the interior minister in the government of Damat Ferid Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, who was murdered during the Turkish War of Independence" (from Wikipedia).

Chef Jamie Oliver says his family just found out about the Sudanese in the background. He seems a little sure on the exact nature of it.

Of course, these are just interesting; they don't mean that the people aren't essentially "white", I mean look at them, especially Boris. If anyone actually cares what label we put on them in the first place. Personally, I always skip the ethnicity questions on forms because I figure it shouldn't matter in the first place.

xizor
05-28-2010, 05:46 PM
Until very recently I assumed Fatboy Slim (http://www.auditoire.ch/IMG/jpg/Fatboy_Slim_in_2004.jpg) was black.

HepToTheJive
05-28-2010, 06:54 PM
I was listening to Wilco the other day with my mom (Theologians), she though Jeff Tweedy was black.

That sent me for a loop.

Lamia
05-28-2010, 07:02 PM
Like a lot of people, when Catherine Zeta-Jones first became famous I assumed she was at least part Spanish/Latin American. I probably wouldn't have made this assumption if her breakthrough role had been something other than The Mask of Zorro, opposite actual Spaniard Antonio Banderas, but it was and I did. She is actually Welsh.

A good friend of mine was shocked when I told her just a few months ago that Zeta-Jones is not even a little bit Spanish.

elfkin477
05-28-2010, 07:32 PM
Jack Johnson is white.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Johnson_(musician) Does he consider himself white? I know some native Hawaiians who do not.

digs
05-28-2010, 07:39 PM
Back when "Holding Back the Tears" was a hit, I not only assume the lead singer of Simply Red was Black, but I also assume he was female.

Ditto, and a more obscure reference:

Matthew Ward.

Back in the day, he did a duet with Donna Summer --citation needed*-- and a roommate heard it on our radio and said "Oh, yeaaah, who's the big bruthah beltin' it out?"

So I pulled out an old 2nd Chapter of Acts vinyl album (Hey, what can I say? Flawless 3-part harmony, and less suckage than most early Christain music).

You couldn't find a skinnier, whiter-looking boy anywhere.


* "Love Has a Mind of Its Own" from She Works Hard For The Money.

TBG
05-28-2010, 07:41 PM
I'm stunned at all the people that thought Mariah Carey was white, shocked to find out she's half black. I always thought she was black and while not really shocked to find out she's half white (she is light skinnded), I certainly wouldn't have thought it a given that she's part white.

My sister thought the Righteous Brothers were black, the Righteous BROTHERS.

JSexton
05-28-2010, 07:48 PM
There's a hiphop group from Seattle called Optimus Rhyme. Surprised the hell out of me that they are all white.

Shirley Ujest
05-28-2010, 09:45 PM
When I was a teenager and watching some old B & W movie on TV ( no cable) I was shocked to find that Lena Horne was black.

But what really threw me for a loop was a local broadcaster in DTW, Amyre Makeupson (http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=1061&category=mediaMakers) is black. I had grown up watching her and when I found out I was gobsmacked.

Superhal
05-28-2010, 10:38 PM
I thought Pepe Le Peu was from New Orleans.

Tattoo from Fantasy Island is actually French-Filipino. I thought he was a Mexican with a speech impediment.

Higgins from Magnum PI is actually from Texas, and worked with a speech therapist to get rid of his Texas accent. I thought he was British.

I thought Lady Gaga was a dude, like Boy George. Early photos I saw of her had the adam's apple covered.

When I was young I thought Spock was played by an Asian actor.

I also thought David Carradine was Asian.

The absolute biggest shock though was learning Charles Bronson was actually Mexican.

Ponch8
05-28-2010, 10:46 PM
When I first heard "Tik Tok" and saw her name, I assumed Kesha was black. I also used to think Michael Jackson was black. :D

Sinisterniik
05-28-2010, 10:48 PM
For me it's pianist Benny Green. I suppose it's a stereotype to think that a white guy can't sound like Red Garland, but then that's why Red Rodney had to pretend he was an albino.

Also, to those Hockey fans out there, I thought that former Ranger Sandy McCarthy was white for quite a while.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
05-28-2010, 10:50 PM
The absolute biggest shock though was learning Charles Bronson was actually Mexican.:dubious: Is there another Charles Bronson? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bronson

Loach
05-28-2010, 11:21 PM
I was still watching Saturday Night Live occasionally when Maya Rudolph was still on.

Not only did I not know she was mixed race ('though I did wonder why she always played the "ethnic" characters), I didn't know until recently her mother was Minnie Riperton.

I was confused to. To me see looked white on SNL. Her skin tone looks different now for some reason. Maybe it was the lighting or makeup they use on SNL. When I have seen her recently I can see it.

The absolute biggest shock though was learning Charles Bronson was actually Mexican.

Charles Buchinsky? What part of Mexico is Lithuania in?

Superhal
05-28-2010, 11:47 PM
hmm, I wonder why I thought that.

Superhal
05-29-2010, 12:00 AM
Bart Simpson is actually a chick (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Cartwright).

Knowed Out
05-29-2010, 12:02 AM
I thought Michael Jackson was white.

Seriously, I was a kid when I first heard ZZ Top's LaGrange on the radio, and thought they were black.

Shirley Ujest
05-29-2010, 06:22 AM
The day my kids found out that Michael Jackson was actually a black dude was quite humorous.

missred
05-29-2010, 06:28 AM
Until I saw a picture of her, I always assumed that blues singer Rory Block was black.

http://www.roryblock.com/

She's paler than I am. :p

The Other Waldo Pepper
05-29-2010, 07:00 AM
Zachary Levi, most famous for playing Chuck Bartowski, is apparently not even the littlest bit Jewish.

MeanOldLady
05-29-2010, 07:02 AM
I thought Norah Jones was black for the longest time.Wow! :eek: Well, I'll be...This was pretty much my same thought process. I was so thoroughly convinced she was black, that when someone told me she wasn't, I went and furiously Googled her, certain that she was a light-skinned black woman, perhaps with a non-black parent. That's when I found out that she was Shankar's daughter. So I was wrong, but so was the girl who thought Jones was just a dark-haired white girl!

1) It's "Holding Back The Years."

2) He's certainly not black, Mick's red. Hence the name.Okay, yes, and thank you. Gods help me, but I love this awful, awful song, and thus, Simply Red. It is my official "I am in a break up, and I've no aspiration but to do anything but wallow and be unashamedly pathetic" song. It's terrible, but has a special place in my cold, dark little heart.

Now then! Here's what I was thinking when I clicked on this thread:

I was still watching Saturday Night Live occasionally when Maya Rudolph was still on.

Not only did I not know she was mixed race ('though I did wonder why she always played the "ethnic" characters), I didn't know until recently her mother was Minnie Riperton.Excellent! There were times when I would think "That white woman looks black sometimes." I'd see her and think she was white, then at other times wonder why she looked so brown, and would figure it was just the camera or something. Then I'd see her next to white people and go, "Is she white?" and at some point concluded she might be a very light black woman. Then I'd go, "That black woman looks really white." Now why it never dawned on me that she could actually be black and white, I will never know.

Peremensoe
05-29-2010, 08:08 AM
I'm stunned at all the people that thought Mariah Carey was white, shocked to find out she's half black. I always thought she was black and while not really shocked to find out she's half white (she is light skinnded), I certainly wouldn't have thought it a given that she's part white.

Most "black" people in America are "part white."

Peremensoe
05-29-2010, 08:16 AM
...and some "white" people are "part black." (The only reason there's a difference is that American culture traditionally classifies anyone with any visible African ancestry as black.)

What matters--in terms of how one is treated--is mostly just absolute skin tone, and also to some extent how one carries oneself. I doubt Jennifer Beals and Derek Jeter suffered much racial discrimination growing up.

Cat Jones
05-29-2010, 09:29 AM
The moon landing was long before I was born and as a child learning about the whole thing I only saw the pictures of men in space suits, never of their faces. I just decided as a child that obviously Neil Armstrong would be black. It made sense in my mind for some reason (not related to Louis Armstrong as I was about 5 and not familiar with Jazz...my dad was a big Rush fan and my mom listened to Billy Joel so I didn't get a whole lot of other music exposure.) I don't know if it was because the moon landing thing was around the same time as the civil rights movement or if it was because my teacher was black or what, but I totally thought that Neil Armstrong was black for the first 26 years of my life.

As a kid I thought Abraham Loncoln was black for quite a while ... I saw an episode of Different STrokes where the little kid was playing him in a school play or something so I just assumed Lincoln was black too.

Justin_Bailey
05-29-2010, 09:32 AM
Zachary Levi, most famous for playing Chuck Bartowski, is apparently not even the littlest bit Jewish.

For that matter, neither is Jason Biggs, who apparently fooled Woody Allen into believing he was Jewish without even trying to.

suranyi
05-29-2010, 02:28 PM
I didn't realize for quite a while that sisters Jennifer Tilly and Meg Tilly are half Caucasian and half Chinese.

Freudian Slit
05-29-2010, 02:30 PM
Whoa, I had no idea about Jennifer Tilly. (Well, or Meg Tilly--but I didn't know who she was till just now so I never speculated either way.)

descamisado
05-29-2010, 02:43 PM
What matters--in terms of how one is treated--is mostly just absolute skin tone, and also to some extent how one carries oneself. I doubt Jennifer Beals and Derek Jeter suffered much racial discrimination growing up.Maybe not, but I went to college with her brother and since he was so scuzzy (didn't shower, his clothes looked like they were slept in) he never got any. THat must have hurt.Also, to those Hockey fans out there, I thought that former Ranger Sandy McCarthy was white for quite a while.What!? Not only does dude have cornrows, but they're righteous.* How could you not know he was mixed with something?

TBG
05-29-2010, 08:53 PM
Zachary Levi, most famous for playing Chuck Bartowski, is apparently not even the littlest bit Jewish.

Is Chuck established as Jewish (I don't recall such if so), or is it just because his last name's Levi that this is a surprise?

Most "black" people in America are "part white."

And you know that's not the type of "part white" being talked about in my post. Replace part with half if you must.

Lust4Life
05-30-2010, 12:02 PM
It was only reading an obitury that I discovered Freddie Mercury (http://www.persianmirror.com/culture/famous/bios/mercury.cfm) wasn't white/European.


Totally astounded me!

Big fan of Queen but I never knew that.

Still gobsmacked.

Sinisterniik
05-30-2010, 12:42 PM
What!? Not only does dude have cornrows, but they're righteous.* How could you not know he was mixed with something?

You're right, as seen in this photo: http://i.a.cnn.net/si/images/hockey/nhl/players/550.jpg

But I hadn't seen him with his helmet off until well after he came to the Rangers, and by that time he had started to change his hair, as seen in this photo: http://cdn.nhl.com/rangers/images/upload/2009/04/McCarthy_Blueshirts_2002.jpg

Besides, by default I assume that all Hockey players are white and from Canada, Michigan or Wisconsin -unless I can't spell their names; then I assume that they're from Eastern Europe.

AWB
05-30-2010, 11:38 PM
Before I tell you who my celebrity mix-up is you have to promise not to laugh. You promise? Good.

Up until about a year ago I thought that Neil Armstrong was black. stop laughing I don't think I ever saw a picture of him outside of his spacesuit and as a child I just assumed that he was black and that was the mental image that stuck with me. Then about a year ago I saw a picture labeled Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and laughed. I showed it to my fiance and pointed out that they had the wrong picture because that guy with Buzz Alrin obviously wasn't Neil Armstrong! He was the completely wrong color! They might as well have shown Buzz Aldrin with Betty White! seriously, stop laughing He just laughed and said that Neil Armstrong was indeed the man in the picture and that I earned a couple of dingbat points for that one.

hahahahahahahahahhahaha.... sorry

3:20:59 or bust
05-30-2010, 11:52 PM
Well, until I realized he was voicing the bilingual Handy Manny, I had no idea that Wilmer Valderrama was of Hispanic descent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmer_Valderrama

Of course, maybe that's because I could only think of him as "Fez" from, from, from...well, I guess I didn't really know where he was from. But I sure as Hell didn't think it was Columbia or Venezuela!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fez_(That_%2770s_Show)

Uzi
05-30-2010, 11:54 PM
Up until about a year ago I thought that Neil Armstrong was black. stop laughing I don't think I ever saw a picture of him outside of his spacesuit and as a child I just assumed that he was black and that was the mental image that stuck with me.

So, you thought that back in the 60's the first man the US was going to let set foot on the moon was going to be a black man?! Hehe. Hehehe. Bwahahahahahaha!!!! Oh, mercy! Sorry, but too funny!

Sampiro
05-31-2010, 04:03 AM
Not a celebrity today- though he was in his lifetime- but Alexandre Dumas, Sr. surprises a lot of people who didn't know the author of Count of Monte Christo, The Three Musketeers, The Nutcracker and other classics not only had African ancestry through his French Creole father (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alexandre_Dumas_%281762-1806%29.JPG) but it was (http://spad1.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/dumas.jpg) obvious in (http://images.tvrage.com/people/45/132949.jpg) his appearance (http://www.cadytech.com/dumas/images/all/000101.jpg).

Peter Ustinov was part Ethiopian as well, though how much varies by the source. He claimed a quarter, but I think it was actually more like an eighth. Similar story about Russell Crowe's Maori ancestry- I think it's about 1/16 or 1/32.

Apollyon
05-31-2010, 05:20 AM
When I was a teenager and watching some old B & W movie on TV ( no cable) I was shocked to find that Lena Horne was black.

Well... partly anyway... also part Native American it seems. (Photo of young Lena (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Lenahorne.jpeg) on her wiki page).

For myself, it'd be Grace Slick (http://www.amoeba.com/dynamic-images/blog/Job/graceslick1.jpg). Having only heard her singing "White Rabbit" in a particularly gravelly live recording I'd formed a mental image of a black blues singer in the mould of Billy Holiday. I was more than a little surprised to find one of her parents was Norwegian-Swedish, and the other a Mayflower descendant. :eek:

hogarth
05-31-2010, 11:43 AM
I didn't realize for quite a while that sisters Jennifer Tilly and Meg Tilly are half Caucasian and half Chinese.
Oh...you beat me to it.

Sampiro
05-31-2010, 01:06 PM
Not a race exactly, but I'd assumed Harry Morgan (bk4 M*A*S*H) was Jewish due to his birth name of Bratsberg. He's actually the son of Norwegian immigrants.

An interesting example of self identified ethnicity:
Earle Hyman, the actor most famous for playing Cliff's father on The Cosby Show, is by birth a North Carolinian of multiracial heritage (white, Native American and black or, as it was known in the NC of his birth, black), but has "changed race". He identifies as Norwegian- he says Norway is the only place he's ever truly felt at home and he lives there- where he's an extremely respected member of the theater community- when he's not working in the U.S.. He speaks fluent Norwegian, his partner of many years is Norwegian (I don't know if said partner is male or female- in an interview he says he's been romantically involved with a Norwegian for 50+ years) and is an honorary citizen of Norway who has received medals and royal decorations for his work in theater there.

AppallingGael
05-31-2010, 08:44 PM
In sports, this quality gets you a spot on the "Reggie Cleveland All-Stars". Outside sports, Hymie Weiss, who, with Schemer Drucci, headed the North Side gang after Dion O'Banion and before Bugs Moran, was a Polish Catholic.

Asimovian
05-31-2010, 11:34 PM
I'm somewhat embarrassed (although not quite as embarrassed as pbbth (you know I love you, girl!)) to admit that I thought Eminem was black. Which is particularly silly since he sounds more like a white rapper in the first song I ever heard of his ("My Name Is") than any other song of his I've heard since.

ETA: Oh, and I agree with Lamia about Catherine Zeta-Jones.

jackdavinci
06-01-2010, 09:45 AM
I still think of Samuel R Delany as a white guy, even having met him.

TV time
06-01-2010, 10:04 AM
Just listening to his voice, I thought Kermit The Frog was white and then a friend set me straight. "Haven't you ever heard his song, 'It's Not Easy Being Green',?" And I accepted he was not white.

Then I heard Frank Sinatra do the song. I'm confused again.

Cardinal
06-01-2010, 06:41 PM
Zachary Levi, most famous for playing Chuck Bartowski, is apparently not even the littlest bit Jewish.No, and he's decidedly Christian in beliefs, too. Levi is his middle name. "Pugh" I guess was just too hard to pronounce and invited too many jokes to keep in the stage name.

jayjay
06-01-2010, 06:56 PM
Just listening to his voice, I thought Kermit The Frog was white and then a friend set me straight. "Haven't you ever heard his song, 'It's Not Easy Being Green',?" And I accepted he was not white.

Then I heard Frank Sinatra do the song. I'm confused again.

I bet when Ray Charles recorded it, it really confused you.

Asimovian
06-01-2010, 06:57 PM
I bet when Ray Charles recorded it, it really confused you.Of course, Ray might not have known any differently...

Number
06-01-2010, 07:46 PM
Before I tell you who my celebrity mix-up is you have to promise not to laugh. You promise? Good.

Up until about a year ago I thought that Neil Armstrong was black. stop laughingWhat do you mean? He was! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6xJzAYYrX8)

It was a different time you understand.

jrbor76
06-02-2010, 02:43 PM
I always assumed Grant Fuhr from the Edmonton Oilers was white. Actually biracial. Ditto Johnny Mathis.

And not a case of "different race" per se, but watching Family Feud when I was a kid, I always assumed Richard Dawson was a Texan. No idea why.

needscoffee
06-03-2010, 02:33 AM
While this isn't quite as bad as thinking that Neil Armstrong was black, for some stupid reason when I was young I thought that Chekov on Star Trek had an Irish accent. I had no idea that Chekov was a Russian name, and I just heard his accent as being Irish. When I grew up and heard it, I was shocked at how I ever could have thought it was Irish. Well, maybe it is as bad as thinking Neil Armstrong was black.

Alessan
06-03-2010, 02:59 AM
I only recently found out on this board that Paula Abdul wasn't black, but Jewish - Syrian Jewish from her father's side. I guess I just don't expect to find many Sephardic Jews in America (Hank Azaria is another one who surprised me).