Do you look like the 'wrong' nationality?

Do any of you look like you belong to a nationality you don’t really belong to? Or do you know anyone who does?

I started thinking about this phenomenon again recently when I met a Chaldean woman from Iraq who looks either Russian or Bosnian. The second she opens her mouth, it’s very clear to hear that she is Chaldean, but because of her face, people just assume she’s from Russia, no matter how she talks.

I also used to know a young woman whose family came from Appalachia but who was sometimes mistaken for being Chinese, even though her hair was brown.

When the American embassy staff was taken hostage in Iran years ago, a man I know was beaten up in a bar. His father is Czech, and his mother is Mexican, and this produced a look that made angry drunks think he was from “Eye-ran”.

Do any of you have any experience with this “problem” of looking like the “wrong” ethnicity? Does it cause you trouble? Is it fun? Can it be funny?

Hi Jamie

I used to have a boyfriend whose grandparents had come to the US from Armenia. Every New Year’s Eve we would go to the Armenian Ball in Philadelphia. And every year I was inevitably asked by someone there whether I was Irish. I guess it must have been the eye color and freckles that evoked the question. :lol:


Hi Jamie!

A formerly friend of mine is a dark haired type and has a quite brown skin. When he had to do his civil-service he was supposed to do it in an hospital in Hof (Franken a part of Bavaria). As his surname was “Pankok” and the difference between our Westfalian and the Bavarian accent is obvious his nickname in Hof had been Mr. Bagdad. The most funny thing of that was: his roots are in Friesland. :lol: Since Friesland is Northern Germany and most Friesen look like Irish people.


Whenever people ask me where I’m from, I always say Jamaica.
NIce thing to start a conversation this way.
Especially if I’m a new employee, and the old ones trying to show me their position in the foodchain, if you know what I mean. :slight_smile:

Hi Jamie,

Do you get similarly mistaken for another nationality because of course we don’t know what you look like?


Red-haired Spanish people always seem a bit incongruous to me. Nicely and cutely so, but unusual, all the same. A reminder that Celtic blood runs in our veins, I guess.

Yeah, come on, Jamie, don’t play hard to get. You’ve got us all curious now (meaning: some of us are on tenterhooks) :slight_smile: !

I have been mistaken for a German, a Pole, a Spaniard, a Dutchman, a Swedish-American, and my face, as it looked in my 20s, adorns a mural in a Detroit elementary school, where (I assume with some color alteration) I was used to represent the national hero of Brazil.

Well, now we’re more curious than ever :lol: !!! Do you do it on purpose, Jamie, to keep the suspense?!

Come to think of it, your Brazilian hero picture would do :slight_smile: ! Or how about one of you as a kid? That’s something we could all do one day, just for fun. We could make a great game out of it, having to guess who is who, for example (the same could be done with our voices). What do you all think about this?


My husband and me were at Germany on Taize Meeting. In metro we saw beautiful girl. Dark hair, dark eyes, very characteristic Italan face. My husband asked her something but she havent understood anything. Soon she told that she speak Polish only. It was very funny for me, but my husband was very disappointed with the fact he couldnt talk with Italian girl.

how could we use our voices in this forum? I like your idea it would be very funny.

eda :wink:

The technical side not being my strong point, I’d also be grateful for someone’s advice as to how we could do that. Then, whether I can manage whatever is to be done with my computer configuration is another kettle of fish :slight_smile: !

I offend enough people on this forum that I have no intention of letting anyone know what I look like. As I mentioned before on the forums, a Muslim convert to Christianity in my area used to contribute to various religious discussions online, and people succeeded in hunting him down and killing him for converting. Maybe some lady who owns three or four cats will be offended and come after me.

A picture of me as a kid might be interesting, but more interesting would be one of me as at 18, with hair all the way down to my waist. One of my drawing teachers thought I looked like Albrecht D?rer, and one elderly drunk woman mistook me for Jesus, because I appeared in the middle of the night when she was unable to stand up, and carried her and her bag of wine bottles to her apartment building.

This lady, by the way, dropped her keys in the vestibule of her apartment building, and when she bent down to pick them up, her false teeth fell out. She was so fast that she caught them with her mouth in mid-air!

Hi Jamie,

Albrecht Durer, Jesus - now you’ve whetted everyone’s appetite. Reveal yourself!


Now I look more like Lenin, but friendlier.


If you go on like that, we’ll soon be able to draw a robot portrait of you!! Hilarious and far from accurate, probably, though! Anyone good at drawing?

I am. My bachelor’s degree is in painting.

Well, there you are then! You could send us your self-portrait (nobody would know if you cheated a bit :slight_smile: :wink: , right?).

By the way, do you still paint and what? I’d love to see a sample of your art (as an avatar, maybe?).

Hi Jamie(K),
That would be nice to see one of your masterpieces!

Hi Jamie!

A brasilian hero jesus! :lol: Come on, Jamie! You?re kidding. What color of hair does Jesus have? I mean, when I was 19, had long blonde hair and a vulominous red beard I?ve erected a machine in Italy (Tetifrancesi di Rivalta di Torino). One day we decided to have a sight seeing tour in Torino guided by the hotelmanager. Now, everywhere we appeared :wink: people stood stand whispering. Asking our guider he explained that the people were calling [color=red]me Jesus! Since we all know there is one Jesus only, why do you swindle…? :wink:


P.S. Look what is kept left from the one and only Jesus!

Everytime people see me they either think I am mixed as in Spanish or italian. Its funny because people greet me in italian or spanish. People always tell me to go on jersey shore cus they think I am italian and I am not. Also people sometimes change my information on a job application because once they see me they think i am spanish and need “diversity”. Truth is I am Polish like 90 %. My grandfatehr lived in poland and came over to America in like 1950 and had my mother. I am like 5% yugoslvakian (slavik) and croatian, which overpowered my 90% polish lol. what do you think? the last picture is of me my brother and my mother, my mother looks polish.

Welcome, Kala!

Although you say your grandfather settled in New York, it’s pretty clear from your writing that you have been learning English for only about four or five years. Where were you born, and what is your native language?