Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Have you ever been told you don’t fit the stereotype of your “group” and were you offended?

Asked by JLeslie (60798points) 2 weeks ago from iPhone

I guess my groups are Jewish, Northeasterner, American, not sure what else.

People sometimes guess I’m not American. Trivial things like they see me dance, or hear me speak Spanish. Some people guess my national background incorrectly based on my features. I get Italian a lot, but also have been assumed to be Polish, Irish, one person guessed correctly that my family is Latvian. Mostly Latvian anyway. I guess that is stereotyping how people look. I could care less what country people guess my family is from, but some people get upset when Americans seem concerned about someone’s nationality. Once someone told me I don’t look Jewish because I had blue eyes. I dismissed that as ignorance.

I have a Black friend who was told more than once growing up that she didn’t seem Black, or her friends told her they don’t think about her as Black or didn’t see her race. She found that offensive, but I think her friends intended that to mean they didn’t see her any differently because of her skin color. I’m not sure how it came up.

People don’t guess my husband is Mexican. They say he doesn’t look Mexican or were confused by his name.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

24 Answers

jca2's avatar

My father is from Mexico. People tell me all the time “You don’t look Mexican.” Sometimes I just laugh. Sometimes, I explain why they think of Mexicans looking a certain way and why I don’t look that way. I’m not offended. I’m used to it by now.

Zaku's avatar

No, I’ve usually been flattered. “You don’t seem like a geek, but you’re a computer programmer – how is that possible?” “You don’t seem like an asshole, but you have a BMW.” “You don’t seem like an asshole American.” “How do you do computers AND language?” Etc.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

People are people. We’re all in this thing together, and that’s pretty much how I look at it. And I’ll give you three possibilities. 1) Big Sky Daddy snapped his fingers and zapped us all into existence 2) We all fell out of a monkeys ass 3) We were planted here by Lizard People from Mars 4) pick one. At any rate, we are all one humongous family.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

We learn about stereotypes. They are accepted (yet wrong). Every person has their own talents and strengths. It doesn’t pertain to their nationality, skin color, gender, age, etc. What matters is the characteristics move the world forward.

KNOWITALL's avatar

All the time, but I can’t imagine caring much. Even being childfree by choice bothers other women far more than myself haha!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t imagine why it would bother anyone.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Me either, but it does.

AK's avatar

Oh, yes! I’ve been told that many times. It never offended me but after a while it gets annoying. I’m Indian (the real one) and I guess, I don’t fit the physical and social stereotypes of Indians. I’m 6’3”,fit and muscular and that’s the first thing they comment on. ‘You’re tall for an Indian’...have heard that many times. They’re right too, as I’m much taller than the average Indian. The other thing annoys me – ‘You don’t speak like an Indian’, followed by ‘do you live in the UK?’. Apparently, I don’t have an ‘Indian’ accent and speak like a Brit. So, they assume that I live in London or some place in the UK. I’ve never been to the UK, I tell them….and they look at me like I’m lying! I try to explain to them that we learn to speak Brit English in our schools and that most of my classmates speak exactly like me…and that there are millions of Indians who’ve never been to the UK but speak exactly like me….and they get shocked.

….and once while shopping in a mall in the US, along with my cousin, we were mistaken for being Mexicans! We were walking down an aisle and suddenly we were hit with a barrage of Spanish, from a women with a kid in tow. We had no clue what she was asking us about and my cousin who knows a bit of broken Spanish, told her we weren’t Spanish and that shocked her. My cousin lives there and she told me that it wasn’t the first time she was mistaken for being Mexican…..was the first for me though!

JLeslie's avatar

@AK Lots of people in America get mistaken for being Spanish Speakers. Especially, in areas where Spanish is spoken a lot, some people simply speak first in Spanish. My friend’s mom is Chinese ancestry and looks Chinese, and at Miami Airport they spoke to her in Spanish. She couldn’t believe it. She speaks Spanish fluently, she was born and raised in Peru, but she looks like she speaks Mandarin, which she does, but that is beside the point.

I sort of do it. If someone doesn’t speak English and needs help, I ask if they speak Spanish as a possibility for helping to communicate. They may not be Latin American or Spanish, but might speak Spanish.

Where do you live?

AK's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I kind of know that some places have a lot of Spanish speaking population. Funnily, this incident with us happened in NJ, which is where most of my country kins live. If anything, I was expecting to be spoken to, in one of my languages….but we were actually mistaken for being Mexicans. I don’t know why. Maybe there’s some resemblance between Indians and Mexicans….or maybe it is just our family genetics that prompts such assumptions….have to ask Grandma if there was any hanky panky during her times….loool….anyway…..My cousin lives and works there. When she joined, she had at least 4 people who came up to her to either speak in Spanish or to ask her if she was Mexican! I live in India…but do come there often on work…..pre-pandemic, I mean….

JLeslie's avatar

@AK I find it very odd people in New Jersey would ask if someone who appears to them to be Latin American would specifically ask if you are Mexican. I don’t think of New Jersey as having a lot of Mexicans, maybe in Southern NJ. I think of NJ similar to NY, lots of PR’s, Cubans, Brazilians, and other parts of central and South America.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I’ve been stereotyped a few times, but in a different kind of way. I usually dress in old jeans, boots, and a t shirt, unless my wife is dragging me to a wedding, or some place that requires a suit or tuxedo. I also wear a cap at all times, a habit I have had since I was a kid. When people start talking politics, and I express my views, I get looked at like I came from Mars, and I get remarks like, but you don’t LOOK like a liberal… I usually come back with, “Well, what does a liberal look like?” Don’t judge a liberal book by it’s redneck cover.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nomore_lockout Lol. When I lived in the South people often assumed I was a Republican. They usually assumed I was Christian and believed in God too. Just being white in the South got me pinned with those assumptions. That doesn’t happen to me in the northeast or Florida.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

@JLeslie I feel ya friend. I never realized that you have to wear a sport coat with padded elbows, grow a beard, and smoke a pipe, before you can espouse liberal views. Guess people expect me to say things like, “Give a a chaw of that ‘baccy, Cletus!”

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: Here, people tend to use the term “Mexican” when referring to anyone who appears to be of Central or South American descent (Guatamalan, etc.), i.e. “hire a Mexican,” “Mexican landscapers,” etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We had our house reroofed some years back. There was one section that was dangerously steep. So steep that the construction guys refused to do that section…..they called in the Mexicans.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I say it myself, even though my father is a Mexican. “Get me a Mexican!”

Dutchess_III's avatar

They are the hardest working people, in my experience.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I am surprised to hear that in NY they use Mexican to mean any and every country south of our border. The first time I heard Mexican used that was was in college, and I didn’t even understand, I just thought the person was bad at geography. Then again I heard it many years later in NC and later TN. I never hear it in Florida, but you know, we are full of Cubans here. Down in Southern Florida anyway.

When we were in TN we joked we had a Mexican take care of our lawn (my husband in reality) but I still think it is strange that people use Mexican to mean everyone Latin American, and I do think a lot of people who say it really do not know the difference between Mexico and Guatemala, or whatever country.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: Yeah, Guatamalan, Nicaraguan, Ecuadorian, Honduran, Peruvian – all fall under the generic “Mexican.”

JLeslie's avatar

Shocking. I never would have guessed it in NY. Especially not within 100 miles of NYC.

crazyguy's avatar

Doesn’t bother me at all.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther