Have you ever been mistaken for another ethnicity or race?

This has happened to me in the past.

I’m German-American, born in West Germany in 1986. Brown hair, brown eyes. I’ve had some random as hell guesses from people as to what ethnicity I am.

Some people have mistaken me for Italian, others Jewish. One student back in college thought I was Hispanic, and was shocked when I told him my ethnicity.
Has this ever happened to you?

I can’t think of a time where someone guessed wrong but then almost no one bothers to guess. To them I’m just a white guy.

(Polish-Bohemian but the only time it comes up is if someone remarks on my last name or when I demand Casimir Pulaski Day off work)

I’ve had a few people mistakenly think I am Jewish. I have a name that easily could be Jewish.

A couple of the Portuguese employees in Lisbon thought that I was of Russian descent. No idea why.

I’m half Italian (my dad was first generation Italian-American). I have dark brown hair, brown eyes and olive skin. I’ve been asked a few times if I’m Native American. Greek has come up once too. But usually, I hear, “you must be Italian”.

I honestly think that this is the reason why people mistake me for Italian. Along with my brown hair and brown eyes, my skin tans VERY easily, so I tend to have an olive-like glow, especially during summertime.

My mom was jewish and I grew up in a neighborhood that was mostly jewish. People frequently assumed I was jewish and were surprised when I told them I wasn’t.

Only if you count “you can’t be Hispanic, you are white” or trying to wave me through Customs saying “you’re American, I don’t need to see your passport!” as “mistaking me for another ethnicity”. Both incidents imply confusing Hispanic with (partially) Amerind. The Customs one also apparently thought Americans are the only people who come in shades of “caucasian”.

I have been mistaken for Italian, Greek, First Nation and once, for a Sri Lankan maid!

I am white, and my kids are mixed race (their mother is black). A few times when we are out together, people have thought we are Latino (?!)

Yes, pretty much my whole life. Well, maybe a little less now that I’m a middle age woman and therefore invisible :o I’d say at least once a week a Spanish speaker will ask me if I habla espanol. I feel bad that I don’t, especially when they look like they need assistance with directions or whatever. When I was young and really tan pretty much all of the time, I had a lot of black people asking me of I was black. It became a running joke for my dad to say to me " ’ *you black *?"

I think it happens more often to us darker skinned folks, as there are so many places where the natives are dark eyed / skinned.

One thing they don’t suspect is that I’m Jewish. Oy vey, the antisemitic comments people make when they aren’t aware to whom they’re speaking :rolleyes:

I’m a mutt with about 5 or 6 ethnicities (that I know of). No one has ever guessed all of them correctly. :slight_smile:

For a white guy I’m a bit on the darker side, but no one ever thinks I’m not white.

I’m just a plain ol’ white girl but my brother has jet-black hair and olive skin. He’s Slovak/German but has been pegged as every nationality from Mexican to Lebanese. He wore a hat to our friend’s wedding at a country club in Georgia and everyone thought he was Jewish.

I’ve had people ask if I was Italian. There is a big Italian community in the area, so people with black wavy hair were often mistakenly identified.

Never happened to me, but it happened to my son. He is a blue-eyed blond (I might mention that I have blue eyes and, while my hair was nearly black, my grandfather was a pale blond and there are blonds in my wife’s family). When he was living in Boston, waiting for a bus, a woman came up to him and asked if he was Irish. He said no. She insisted he was Irish. No, he explained. As far as I know all my ancestors are Ashkenazi Jews and probably never set foot in Ireland. She shook her head and said, well you sure look Irish.

People occasionally tell me I “look a little bit Asian”. My ancestry is Greek, Northern Italian, Baltic, and Ashkenazi-Jewish. From the Baltic side, I think, comes a little bit of “Sami” (Finnish) genetics which contribute to the look of the eyes.

Here’s my picture, you can be the judge.

Anyone who has any Northeastern European ancestry - Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, or Icelandic - can carry ancient genes from Siberian peoples. Just google the Sami phenotype.

I have dark eyes, dark hair that goes frizzy curly in the summer, and skin so white I buy foundation in the color known as “dying of consumption” - but I tan dark - which I don’t do any longer, but as a kid, running around in the summer back when “getting some sun” was healthy, I got pretty tan. My father gets darker than I am - and has a broad nose - so yes, light skinned African American and/or Latina.

German, Dutch, and Eastern European, including Roma.

I’m half Italian and parts German/Irish. I have been mistaken for Jewish & French at various times.
To add to the confusion my wife is Jewish and she has been mistaken for Italian.

Most Americans do not know what “Italian” looks like. Not all Italians look “dark”, have “olive skin”, or bushy eyebrows or whatever else is popularly associated with Italians.

I have been asked if I was an albino a few times. Not real sure if that’s an ethnicity. I am pale, white-blond (greying some) hair. Pale blue eyes. It’s the white eyelashes that freak people out, I think. My Mother was of Dutch descent and My Daddy; Irish descent.