People do not know how to act around mixed heritage people

I’m not sure what it is, but otherwise rational, open minded people seem to become utterly inept socially when they are exposed to mixed people. They will do and say things that would be considered impolite or stupid around someone who is mono-racial, but it’s okay when it is a multi-ethnic person.

For example, you would never hear that your asian friend, is going to marry another asian person, and then say “OH MY GOD, YOUR KIDS ARE GOING TO JUST BE SO GOOD AT MATH!” but even on these boards I constantly hear people say that multiracial children are all beautiful/multiracial people are all “hot”. :rolleyes: As a multiracial person who is not attractive by and large, it’s like an EXTRA jab in the ribs, imagine how ugly I’d be if I WASN’T mixed. :rolleyes:

Another really annoying thing people do, is come up to me and say “WHAT ARE YOU??” (This is including PERFECT STRANGERS ON THE STREET…it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!) I have met enough of these idiots to know exactly what they mean by repetition, but I wouldn’t say my mixed race is in the top 3 things I identify as… this is offensive to me because they assume that to me, my race is my most important trait. Usually I respond to these people by sharing with them my religious faith, because it’s the first thing that I identify as. :slight_smile:

Yet another obnoxious behavior people do is try to guess whether my mother or father is the black or white one. MOST of the time they are wrong, though I personally notice a LOT more black men with white women than vice versa, so it’s forgivable for being wrong-BUT, the very question itself is stupid. What does it matter? Secondly, it seems like these simpletons are trying to use some pseudo-scientific system they made up that people take more after their mother/after their father’s race looks wise, which is not true, and only someone fairly stupid would think so.

BTW, when I am polite enough not to go tell you to walk off a bridge, and actually tell you my ethnic background (I know I look ambiguous), 99% of the time these jackasses follow up with “You don’t look it.” GEE mister, here I was thinking I looked like Casper the friendly ghost or Eddie Murphy, you’ve totally blown my mind!

So in case you are doing any of the above, or WOULD do any of the above, please stop and think first, before you make yourself look like an insensitive idiot to the person you are talking to. :stuck_out_tongue:

If you REALLY are curious, and I am sometimes too, what I will do is a) get to know someone first, and b) say, “excuse me but I’m just curious, what kind of ethnic background do you have?” People try to dance around the issue and ask “Where are your parents from?” When I reply “Chicago” they go “YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!” :mad:

A friend of mine used to respond, “a bass player.”

I find this works in most situations -

“So, since we’ve opened the floor to comments on one another’s appearance, I’ll go next…”

I have an ex-girlfriend who is also half black half white, and she used to respond in a DEAD PAN face, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know. My mother was a prostitute.” to make the jackass FEEL like a jackass.

I wanted to use this, but I can’t keep a poker face enough for it to work. :smiley:

Are you talking about with strangers? Even PASSING acquiantances I wouldn’t be bothered by them asking, but it’s incredibly rude when strangers do so IMO.

I’m sure I will post up more annoying behaviors people have when dealing with my race. I have lost friendships over not “revealing” my race sooner, because apparently I am supposed to hold up a sign or something so racists can know not to associate with me.

Can I touch your hair?

People are stupid. Very stupid. Just imagine the experience your parents had.

I’m not bi-racial, but my son is, and sometimes when I go out with him by myself, people ask me where I got him. I usually say he was on sale at the grocery store.

Another dumb thing people do when they find out my husband is Indian, “Oh! Your husband is Indian! Then you must know Babu!” This person doesn’t know Babu’s last name. They don’t know where he lives or where in India he came from or even if he grew up there at all. But I or my husband must know him, even though India boasts several billion people. Then, if Babu or whatever brown guy they’re talking about (could be from Bangladesh, maybe Pakistan or Nepal) has the misfortune to be nearby, he is dragged over to me so we can talk. We sort of stare at each other in a really awkward manner, exchange some pleasantries and run away as fast as possible.

Yet another silly thing people do is say things like, “Oh! He’s Indian! Indians are so courteous! And what hard workers!” I have no idea what to say to that. “Actually, my husband is a lay-about asshole (he’s not), but I married him anyway” comes to mind.

India does not have “several billion” people. It has a little over a billion. It does have quite a few Babus, though.

I cosign everything in the OP and will humbly attach an addendum.

If you’re bold enough to ask someone “what” they are and that person is kind enough to give you a serious answer, do not argue with them. If I tell you that I’m black, you do not have to point out to me that I don’t look “it”. I’ve heard it a million times, from a million people, throughout my entire life. Plus, I have a mirror. I know what I look like. I look like someone who has equal doses of African and European ancestry, with some possible American Indian ancestry thrown in for kicks. In other words, I look like a light-skinned black person. There are millions of us in this country. Have you never seen one of us before?

If we’re just meeting for the first time and I tell you I’m black in response to your inquiry, just nod your head for pete’s sake. I don’t particularly care for your opinion on my racial identification. And if you ask me where I’m from and I say “Atlanta”, be smart enough to know what that means. (Hint: If I’m from some foreign place, I’ll probably say “I’m from Some Foreign Place.” If I don’t say this, then that means I was born in the US and you’ll have to either ask the question you really intend to ask, or you’ll just have to get to know me to find the answer you seek.)

And no, I don’t look exotic. People shouldn’t automatically assume that will be taken as a compliment, but personally I do not. It’s like saying someone is beautiful (which is kind) but in a strange, unconventional way (not so kind). I don’t look strange. I look like an American.

This is a good point for any ‘positive’ stereotype. Just because you’re using a positive trait to generalize about an entire ethnicity or race doesn’t mean you’re paying people a compliment.

Oh for fucks sake. Can’t people be forgiven if they are well intentioned? I am a male with long curly hair. There have been many occasions where I have been mistaken for a woman, or been told bluntly “from behind I thought you were a girl” or “you will have beautiful daughters.” These people aren’t being malicious, they are just saying the first thing that comes to mind.

Actually, to me, it’s the ignorance that is the worst part. Can’t people make small talk by talking about the weather anymore?

People are just stupid and rude in general.

I dated a thoroughly mixed woman for a few years. She was primarily Panamanian, German and Egyptian but had bits of almost every conceivable ethnicity. She was the color of a cup of Swiss Miss cocoa.

When we met, I may have asked if she was Egyptian based on her appearance, some Egyptian jewelry she was wearing, and the discussion of ancient Egypt she was having at the time.

We used to joke that we hoped our children would be born with stripes.

And why is it so wrong to be irritated by it? No one is saying people are being evil or racist…just STUPID. If you let stupid stuff fly out your mouth on a routine basis, one day someone may let a “stupid” punch fly right into your throat, just as reflexively. Or they’ll vent on a message board.

And if people argued with you that you were indeed a girl because of your long hair, you’d probably get a little het up too after awhile.

I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it agan. A psychiatrist once questioned why I called myself black during my first session with him. I was seeing him for major depression and I was suicidal at the time, but this question was nonetheless burning up inside him. If I had been more lucid and sharper-tongued, I would have asked him why he, as an orthodox Jew, views the offspring of a Jewish mother and a gentile father differently than the converse. If he’s going to make me out to be crazy, then he deserves the same treatment too. But alas, I was seeking medical treatment, not trying to argue with someone over racial politics.

Does anyone come up to you and say exactly “What are you?”, and then get mad when you give them the truthful answer? Otherwise I think you’re comparing apples to oranges.

I’ve mistaken men for women before and vice versa, but because I’m not an idiot, I say “oh, my mistake, sorry!” and take them for their word, I don’t try to argue the identity of strangers with them.

Actually a closer parallel to the rudeness of these people would be to come up to you and say “What sex are you?” then argue with you about it, or go on to tell you how you don’t look like your sex.

Oh, I do have a personal experience to share.

One of the other patients at a program I attend walked up to me and said “You are not a Jew.”

I checked that my yarmulke was still on and said “Don’t tell me my mom.”

Jeez, miscegenation sure makes some people bitchy!

With velcro?

“What are you?”

Human. What are you?


Hominid. That’ll keep 'em guessing.

OH! Mistah Kottah! OH!

How about approximately 4% neanderthal.