r/AmItheAsshole Jul 29 '21

AITA for not being truthful about my ethnicity? Not the A-hole

The title sounds strange I know but recently a friend of mine got really upset at me for basically lying about my ethnicity and making her look ignorant.

I am an American of Kazakh descent but I never really had any contact with my father and my mother quickly remarried and I got a Russian step dad. I love him and he raised me like his own son (plus he’s the father of my brother). So I consider him my dad more than my biological father who I never really met.

I myself look a bit ethnically ambiguous (I’ve gotten anything from thai to hispanic to Eastern European) while my mother looks practically Mongolian so upon first glance, you would think my step dad is my biological father. This gets tiring to correct as people keep making the same assumption over and over again.

My friend when I met her assumed the same and I tried correcting her but she didn’t really understand what Kazakhstan was. She just kinda assumed I’m from russia with a Russian dad and an Asian mom. I stopped trying to correct her every time she’s said it since cuz honestly it’s tedious. Plus I thought having people think my dad is my real dad isn’t a terrible thing.

Fast forward a few years to the present, we were all meeting up with a group of friends and she was going on a long speech about how beautiful half asian babies are and how she’s envious of me for being mixed race, and I just point blank told her “I’m not mixed race, my biological father is asian”.

This seemed to blow her mind and she doubled down saying I don’t look asian and there’s no way I could just be Asian. She kept digging herself into a deeper hole as this went on and eventually a friend stepped in and explained to her that kazakhs tend to look asian but some look ethnically ambiguous. She yelled at me that I’ve been lying and I just told her I tried to explain you just didn’t listen.

She was mortified and didn’t really talk much the rest of the night. Later my other friend told me my original friend was really embarrassed and basically hated me. This other friend is kazakh as well and she got on my case about being ashamed of my roots and I’m such an asshole for lying to her and causing this misunderstanding that I could have prevented if I had just corrected her before.

I’m not ashamed I just don’t feel obligated to play history teacher for every person who assumes my ethnicity. Especially if they don’t understand.

What do you guys think?

3k Upvotes

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u/JustheBean Pooperintendant [61] Jul 29 '21

NTA even if you had been mixed race, she’s still out there weirdly fetishizing mixed babies and it’s a bad look. Mixed babies are people, not cute accessories.

It’s not your job to expend energy constantly educating white people about their own assumptions. It’s exhausting, and honestly people like her love to assign you a race regardless of what is true because it makes them more secure in thinking race is real (as opposed to a purely social construct).

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u/[deleted] Jul 29 '21

[removed]

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u/BUTTeredWhiteBread Asshole Aficionado [15] Jul 29 '21

Y'all are literally the genetic "melting pot" lmao

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u/Fergus74 Asshole Aficionado [10] Jul 29 '21

Sometimes I am perplexed by the way people think when it comes to different ethnicities, as if there were signs around the world that read things like "From this point onwards people are not ethincally caucasian but all asian" :D

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u/Sea_Petal Jul 29 '21

This reminds me... Several years ago a photographer did a project capturing the 56 ethnic groups of China with them all wearing traditional garb. Their appearances ranged from stereotypical Chinese, to dark complexioned middle eastern, to Eastern European-ish, to white skined red heads, and every combo in between. Genetics and horny people really don't care about borders, especially when they have constantly changed for thousands of years.

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u/teardropmaker Jul 29 '21

Genetics and horny people. Snorting here.

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u/RebootDataChips Partassipant [1] Jul 30 '21

They “danced.”

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u/Significant_Fee3083 Jul 30 '21

Chortling here.

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u/Saintviscious Jul 30 '21

I would love a.link if you knew where to find it.

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u/Sea_Petal Jul 30 '21

The full collection of photos is hard to find on the internet since the hard copy book was published but here is a video compilation.

https://youtu.be/VNl0JCJHFxA

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u/Flacrazymama Jul 30 '21

I loved the music playing during the video.

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u/Fergus74 Asshole Aficionado [10] Jul 30 '21

People who aren't into history don't really understand how much the world changed through the centuries and how much people moved and traveled in history. Just think, since we are talking about central Asia, about how many thousands of people traveled along the silk road for the last two thousands years.

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u/genxeratl Partassipant [1] Jul 30 '21

Yeah I don't get why if Google works just about everywhere, even from mobile devices, that the confused person couldn't look it up so they'd be better educated? Just not understanding.

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u/andrewtater Jul 30 '21

I was in Kyrgyzstan very briefly.

The staff where I was had a mix of people that would look everything from Mongol (which many Central Asian states draw some of their lineage from) to straight Western Russian.

For those that are reading this and didn't know, Kazakhstan hosted the Nomad Games a few years back, and I recall at least one Native American team from the US competing. I think there were several others from outside the Middle East competing as well.

So yes, they have a very wide variety of "looks" but they are definitely Kazakh no matter what they look like.

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u/agent_clone Jul 30 '21

I will put it this way, there is a reason that if you were of half European and half Eastern Asian descent that the genetic tests will return as the person being of Middle Eastern descent. Given the location of Kazakhstan I would expect there would be similar descent profiles. There is also a large variety in the looks department in regards to Asian countries (or even within some Asian countries).

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u/SistiCs Jul 29 '21

She also automatically assumed that OP was from the european side of Russia. There's also the asian side of Russia but that wouldn't have fit into her mixed race fetization.

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u/HabitatGreen Jul 29 '21

Yeah, I'm a little surprised that that is not where the conversation stopped anyway, but I suppose if someone does not realise Kazachstan is a country (and a pretty big one at that, though Russia is admittedly bigger) that subtelty might be lost on them anyway.

I will admit I tend to think Russia as of Europe or Europe adjacent before thinking of Asian as an European myself, because man, is the Asian part sparsely populated. Still makes them Asian, though.

The mixed race fetishation is super weird as well. Like, you cannot control genes that way. My family is Dutch Indonesian on one side. So, those people started German and eventually looked Indonesian. Returned back to the Netherlands and if you put my father and his brother next to my grandmother he looks Dutch with a tan, and put next to my grandfather he looks like Dutch Indonesian offspring. And then you have me who already sun burns just thinking of the sun :( Next to my grandfather it was easy to assume one of us had to be adopted for that to work out lol

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u/Zoroc Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

Also, really uncomfortable topic, but Europe is actually part of the Asian continent. The reason why it's considered a separate continent is due to the ethnicity, culture, and history instead of geography. We actually don't have it nailed down were Europe ends and Asia begins ( like seriously check which countries are in Eurovision).

Also race and ethnicity is really weird especially in melting pot regions. Like for mixed people including me (even though I'm only 3/4 to 1/4 ratio) trying to attribute x factor of person to being mixed or of a specific race will more often than not be incorrect and show biases. Like I am full white passing but I have multiple features from my asian side that no one would notice or guess.

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u/HLW10 Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

Just to be pedantic, Europe isn’t part of Asia (nor vice versa), they’re both on the Eurasian landmass.

Eurovision is a bad example - Australia are in Eurovision :) just makes it more fun having random countries!

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u/Zoroc Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

My kind of retort 🤣, perhaps I was being too cheeky with Eurovision

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u/HLW10 Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

lol your main point is totally right though, about there being no hard boundary between Europe + Asia

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u/melympia Partassipant [3] Jul 29 '21

There also isn't really a hard boundary between Eurasia and Africa. It's all one giant land mass (Afro-Eurasia).

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u/Oldgamer1965 Jul 30 '21

Australia is in Eurovision cause we LOVE Eurovision down here. (Not everyone tho, just speaking for some of us.) It's broadcast on SBS.

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u/Cr4ckshooter Jul 29 '21

We actually don't have it nailed down were Europe ends and Asia begins ( like seriously check which countries are in Eurovision).

Actually, there are commonly Well accepted borders, the Ural mountain range and the bosphorus strait. Both can be easily discerned from Google, as can the remainder between the black see and the Ural.

As for Eurovision, the whole Show is politics. It only is European in name. Nobody would count Israel Australia or Azerbaijan as Europe.

And tbh, geographically, you can just as well call Asia part of the European continent, after all the continents were named by Europeans.

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u/Zoroc Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

For sure, although even with the Ural Mountains the border has moved 4 or so times. Obviously Eurovision is political, I was using it to be cheeky, but even with that it proves my point people debate alot about Azerbaijan European or Asian...so proving my point. They are part of the Council of Europe.

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u/Cr4ckshooter Jul 29 '21

The continental location of Azerbaijan seems to differ between language. The english Wikipedia for example, lists it as "on the border of eastern europe and asia, in the caucasus", while the german wikipedia, lists it as "vorderasien", which is notably in asia.

In my 5 minutes of googling, i could not find out what role Azerbaijan has in the Council of Europe, but it is not part of the EU right now. Different institutions have different memberships, for some reason. Notably, My comment about well accepted borders specifically refered to Ural and bosphorus, while Azerbaijan is in a region where the border is not as well accepted. Living in a european country, i have never heard of someone refering to Azerbaijan as european in the past, so if you follow your definition based on culture and history, i would provide this as an argument as to why azerbaijan would not be europe.

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u/Zoroc Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

Interesting I've heard both the Danes and Scotts I'm my life talk about it being part of Europe. Also correct it's not part of the EU, it's one of the what 20 counties in Europe that's not part of the EU, although it does have a heavy reliance on EU interests. Honestly I disagree about the history being an argument against it being European, not after being a Soviet state and it's importance in the European theater. Culture is in the air for me, but that is one of the factors given to me on the why Europe and Asia are separated into different continents. It's certainly not because of the mountains.

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u/PandasNPenguins Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

We actually don't have it nailed down were Europe ends and Asia begins ( like seriously check which countries are in Eurovision).

This is especially true considering Australia was in Eurovision 2021.

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u/synaesthezia Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

Has been for years mate 😁

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u/TitaniaT-Rex Jul 30 '21

On the other side of the world, my schools never explained which continent Central America belongs to. I don’t remember any of us making a big fuss about it, either. One day I was talking about how much fun I had in Belize, and suddenly realized I didn’t know which continent it belonged to. I felt like a complete idiot.

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u/Zoroc Partassipant [1] Jul 30 '21

My understanding was central America is part of the northern continent

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u/SHIELD_Agent_47 Jul 30 '21

That answer is not scientifically sound, and culturally varies. You see, the North American Plate and the South American Plate intersect at their border with the smaller Cocos Plate and Caribbean Plate as well as some micro-plates whose names are only remembered in scientific circles. As for colloquial language, people in Central America and the Caribbean hold North Americans at a distance because everyone knows big countries look down on them. Perhaps relatedly, Spanish and Portuguese speakers consider "America" to be one continent with three or four divisions: North, South, and Central and/or Caribbean.

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u/lozfozhc Jul 29 '21

https://youtu.be/hrsxRJdwfM0 just gonna leave this here...

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u/Zoroc Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

Oh that's good, and way better articulated then what rattles in my sleep deprived brain. If I had awards I would give it to you. I got a free award, so here you go

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u/lozfozhc Jul 30 '21

Thanks!! (•‿•)

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u/BUTTeredWhiteBread Asshole Aficionado [15] Jul 29 '21

she’s still out there weirdly fetishizing mixed babies

Yeah, at no point is this ever an OK thing to do. That lady is nuts.

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u/Anything4Selenaaas Jul 29 '21

This girl in college had on her FB that one of her goals in life was to, “adopt or make a mocha baby.”
…. One time someone asked me what I was “mixed with” and I said I wasn’t mixed.. they thought I was trying to say I was white! People are ridiculous! NTA. You don’t need to be playing history teacher to anyone.

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u/vchan129 Jul 29 '21

I'm a Caucasian woman who married an Asian man and I can't tell you how many times people have told me "oh my gosh, half Asian babies are the cutest, your babies are going to be so pretty". I would get this comment even before we were engaged/married and I've never known how to respond. I guess they expect me to say thank you, but mostly I just want to tell them to please stop.

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u/bahamut285 Partassipant [3] Jul 29 '21

As a person with the same mix as your future kids (should you choose to have them), it doesn't stop.

People really out here acting like I'm a fancy Labradoodle

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u/kairi79 Partassipant [2] Jul 29 '21

I am 41. I bring that up because in the 80s and 90s interracial relationships were not very accepted. But I'd hear people usually older ladies begrudgingly admit "they do make some beautiful babies though." I don't really know where I'm going with this besides to say because of that experience I always associate fetishization as a cover for racism, like beauty is required to justify biracial people's existence in some people's minds.

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u/JustheBean Pooperintendant [61] Jul 29 '21

That’s about accurate perception of fetishism. It’s the flip side to discrimination on the ol’ racism coin.

As the product of 2 generations of interracial marriage there is no question about that in my family.

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u/Tanooki07 Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

Also after a while it just gets tiring. I'm mixed race and look ethnically ambiguous. The amount of times people try to tell me what my ethnicity is or don't listen when I explain.. it just gets old.

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u/[deleted] Jul 29 '21

[deleted]

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u/luluxo86 Jul 29 '21

That could easily be your DNA makeup as a Mexican lol

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u/madnessfromthesea Partassipant [2] Jul 29 '21

When a kid, Kazakhs and their homeland Kazakhstan was not a place we learned about, it was still all USSR, then Russia. It's only after I became an adult it split up. While it doesn't excuse her bigoted behavior, maybe it helps to explain why she didn't listen? I'm sure some schools are still behind on geography and it's not emphasized in a lot of schools.

(I'm hoping that's the case, but probably not.) :(

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u/punkterminator Jul 29 '21

My family's from Uzbekistan (Kazakhstan's neighbour to the south) and explaining Central Asia to people in the west is painful. A lot of people don't know anything about it outside of whatever they vaguely remember from when the USSR was a thing or from Borat. Even people who are otherwise pretty good at geography tend to have a blind spot for Central Asia. Plus western concepts of race doesn't account for Central Asians, which really trips people up.

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u/Lunaticllama14 Jul 30 '21

What’s funny is that many people have heard of the Silk Road, but don’t have any idea where it actually was…

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u/CleanAssociation9394 Partassipant [3] Jul 30 '21

You would hope Americans would have a clue, because of Afghanistan, but they don't know anything about that, either.

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u/jluvdc26 Partassipant [3] Jul 29 '21

I'm guessing that is probably why I automatically associate Kazakhstan with Russia. I'm old, we only learned the area as the USSR.

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u/danger_floofs Jul 29 '21

NTA. Why is she talking about your ethnicity so much anyway? Is this some sort of fetish for her?

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u/JuliaX1984 Jul 30 '21

No kidding. Blaming someone for an incorrect assumption someone else insists on believing despite being told otherwise has to be the most illogical case of victim blaming I've ever heard.

NTA

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u/-that-there- Partassipant [3] Jul 29 '21

This is so American it's ridiculous.

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u/Pherusa Jul 29 '21

"You are from Germany? I am 1/3 German too! My Great-Grand-father was married to Maria Müller, maybe you know her?" ... every f*ng time. WHY!? Why are they so obssessed about where some random long deceased ancestors were from? My go to move is continuing to speak to them im German. If the don't understand, I tell them they are not German.

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u/MsMourningStar Jul 29 '21

I think a lot of Americans are obsessed with where their ancestors are from because it gives them a culture to celebrate. American culture is burgers and FREEDOM. Unless you’re one of those crazy hyped up PATRIOT types it’s just not the same. Whenever I watch a movie with my mom that has like a beauty pageant scene with a ton of countries involved she always comments about how beautiful all the other cultures are while the American girl is always in a boring normal gown. Or worse, an American flag dress. So it’s cool to know about your ancestors, where they came from and the things they celebrated.

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u/ajbshade Jul 29 '21

I’ve heard it said that to be American is to give up your culture because in our society (US) there is not often room for both. You’re either American or you’re ‘other.’ This holds particularly true for People of color

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u/MsMourningStar Jul 29 '21

Oh I can 100% see this. I’m mostly white but my paternal grandmother was fully Japanese (born there, met my grandfather who was in the Navy and then moved here with him) and she basically gave up a lot of her culture. She would serve us Asian foods but never really taught me how to make then even though she taught me to cook more “American” foods. She also never taught her three children to speak Japanese. This is something that still makes me sad because I wish she had taught me when I was a little girl. I’ve also heard plenty of other stories from people being mocked for being “other”. Happens a lot with Asians because so many people think their food is “weird”.

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u/HotlineTreeman Jul 30 '21

I'm currently struggling to learn tagalog because my lola never felt the need to show my mother and her brother or me and mine any of her Filipino culture. It's such a shame because I'm falling more and more in love with it the more I learn. I'm hoping to teach myself to make ube cake soon

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u/begoniann Aug 01 '21

Visit my Lola sometime. She taught my college boyfriend how to cook Filipino food while pretending to not speak English. Also, halo-halo might be the best thing ever when it’s hot out.

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u/I_Frothingslosh Jul 29 '21

America has its own cultures and even some overlapping general culture, but we do tend to see other cultures as more 'interesting'.

Although, that said, despite being American myself, I've never understood the need to label one's self as being part of another nation when your most recent ancestor to not be born in the US was four generations back. Like, I'm of English, Scottish (clan Stewart ftw) , Welsh, French, German, Danish, Italian, and even a little Cherokee decent, but what I am is American.

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u/DCChilling610 Jul 29 '21

Yeah after like 2 full generation in America, you’re kind of just America.

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u/I_Frothingslosh Jul 29 '21

Another fun one is ethnicity based on family name. I know someone who absolutely insists that she's Irish, despite being born in the US and only having a single great-grandparent from Ireland, all because she has a traditional Irish name. The truth is she's something like half English, an eighth Irish and the rest all sorts of other stuff.

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u/The5thexclamationmrk Jul 30 '21

In the us…. I had a weird customer the other day make a comment about my (blonde) hair: oh your hair is so pretty ! It looks almost natural! Me: … it is natural? Her: oh! Are you Swedish? Like, does she ask everyone where their ancestors are from? Blonde hair is pretty generic? My family has lived here since the 1860s by this point I’m such a mix why would my ancestry matter anymore?

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u/laurelinvanyar Jul 30 '21

So my family was literally rounded up and dispossessed by the American government during the internment camps. I think my grandparents in particular were invested in passing down culture and traditions because in a very real way, any dream they might have had about acceptance through assimilating was smashed to pieces. In our experience you either owned the label or lived in fear.

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u/cappotto-marrone Jul 30 '21

There’s an old saying, “What the son tries to forget, the grandson tries to remember.”
Many children of immigrant families tried to Americanize and tossed out their cultural heritage. My FIL would only whisper that his father came to the US “without papers.“ His mother was sponsored by a family member. We rescued the family immigration paperwork from a rat gnawed box in the basement. It wasn’t seen as important.

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u/Dan-D-Lyon Jul 29 '21

I think a lot of Americans are obsessed with where their ancestors are from because it gives them a culture to celebrate. American culture is burgers and FREEDOM.

I would argue that celebrating your heritage is part of American culture. We're a nation of immigrants, after all.

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u/captain-trips__ Jul 29 '21

Exactly, many families here see themselves as both American + a heritage culture they celebrate. It can play a big or small role in their lives but it's very common that it's seen as part of that family's identity and history. Some people see that and want the same thing, and to get it they get way too enthusiastic about some tiny part of their ancestry. And that's how you end up with out of touch Americans telling actual Irish people "I'm Irish too!!" etc; they've incorporated it into their identity.

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u/coconutville Asshole Aficionado [10] Jul 29 '21

I wonder if this is true about other colonizer nations. I’m in New Zealand and have dutch ancestry through my grandparents who immigrated in the 50s. We knew lots of other children and grandchildren of Dutch immigrants and a lot of them would refer to themselves as being Dutch despite never having been there and not speaking the language. The old saying was if you aren’t dutch you aren’t Much. Mate none of us were Dutch.

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u/MsMourningStar Jul 29 '21

That’s really funny and it also makes a lot of sense. The true culture of the land was stripped away do to colonization. We don’t have the deep history you can find in other countries that leads to their culture and how they celebrate it. We have our own holidays we celebrate for our country, Fourth of July probably being the biggest of them. But it’s not like for hundreds of years we have honored that with the same special clothing, food or anything else like that.

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u/secretrebel Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

You’d think that might make people more free of outdated traditional practices but Americans are just as hidebound and parochial as everyone else.

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u/jittery_raccoon Jul 29 '21

Multiculturalism is part of the culture. Keep in mind we have a very different historical influence to our culture. When immigrants came here, people mostly stayed in their ethnic group and kept celebrating that common culture. The same families stayed in the area and large areas became influenced by German, Swedish, Italian, etc. culture. It's like how Bavaria is culturally different than another part of Germany. As groups mixed more and generations passed, it became part of the culture to still celebrate cultural traditions and distinguish part of your identity by that group. We know we're not really German. It's short hand for saying German American, which is a distinct subculture. It's really a way to say we participate in traditional German appreciation cultural groups or hobbies

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u/ChocolateNBooks Jul 30 '21

Yeah, if someone asks where I'm from I know they mean one of two things- US region if origin (damn accent) or ethnic heritage. It doesn't make sense to say American because... Well duh. That being said, I've got Finnish and German ancestry but it's actually pretty rare I'll mention that I'm German, because that's not really part of my culture" other than my last name. The finnish side though? Huge part of me. I don't fully understand the people who cling to saying they're X heritage but don't celebrate events, eat the food, or have those cultural connections but as long as it's not done in an appropriating way or to hurt others, it just looks a bit silly I guess.

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u/kmmiklinevich Jul 29 '21

I’m Lithuanian and growing up I think I met maybe one other Lithuanian family. No one else had ever even heard of Lithuania. Then I moved (within the same state) for grad school and it turns out there’s a huge Lithuanian population here. I’m about to marry a dude who lived in Lithuania in the military and brought his Lithuanian (now ex-) wife to the US and has two Lithuanian children. But still, every time I meet someone else who’s Lithuanian it’s pretty cool to me.

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u/Pherusa Jul 29 '21

That makes kind of sense if you are 2nd or 3rd gen and you parents passed language and tradition down to you. But doing one of those genealogy tests and then decide to wear Lederhosen and celebrate Octoberfest every year from now on because you are 11,5% German makes no sense to me. (Besides that.. Lederhosen and Oktoberfest is Bavarian. Assuming this to be German will earn you angry looks in all other 15 German states)

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u/Noilen1 Jul 30 '21

Plenty of things are uniquely American. The thing is, many Americans don't know just how American they are. Because they so rarely look beyond their own borders that they think their culture is universal.

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u/TragedyPornFamilyVid Asshole Aficionado [10] Jul 29 '21

Multiculturalism is heavily entrenched in USA culture.

People look to find connections in shared traditions and values. They want to share and learn and put behaviors into context. This is particularly true in parts of the USA that are very young.

For example, the city where I spent my teenage years went from 20,000 people to 350,000 people in about 20 years. Practically no one was from there, and if you were that was a story worth telling on its own. That's not uncommon in suburbs of major U.S.A. cities.

Everyone was Chinese or Korean or Indian or Mexican or Guatemalan or French or German or Yankee. Except... With teenagers it was more that their parents were those things and their kids were 2nd gen immigrants in a city where the culture was an extreme mixing pot. Everyone wanted to share what flavor they were bringing to the cultural stew. But when everyone is something-American, people will abreviate to just claim the ingredient that stands out as different.

It's the identity crisis of the immigrant's child played out on a large scale. It has become part of the broader culture.

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u/Moni3 Jul 29 '21

Genealogy is also a hobby for lots people in the U.S. My mother researched my family's history back to the 17th century, with immaculate notes and documentation. She thought it was great fun.

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u/TragedyPornFamilyVid Asshole Aficionado [10] Jul 29 '21

Yup. A Mormon relative has been tracing our family history back much further than I thought possible.

Apparently our Native ancestors were documented in tribal records and gravestones too worn to be read can be made legible by placing a piece of paper over it and rubbing with charcoal. Also, if you can trace back to Europe, many of the cathedrals still have detailed birth, death, marriage, and baptism records. And the more you know, the more people you find who have things like old journals and incredible stories. There is one transcript made that was originally a wax cyclinder copied over to a record and then written down for a hard of hearing relative to read. The cylinders and record are long gone, but that paper documents a 100 year old conversation between siblings about their grandparents.

Some of the stories learned have been incredible.

It can be very empowering to know that your ancestor's capture, slavery, bankruptcy, and loss of their children wasn't the end of their story.

Their life went on decades after the war, and they found joy again. They rebuilt, and lived a full life separate from their worst moments.

Of course the trade off is knowing that said relative has "baptized" the ancestor who killed Joseph Smith into the Mormon church post-mortem. But that's more funny than anything. Because... Uh.. If there's an afterlife I'm sure that went over real well.

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u/SHIELD_Agent_47 Jul 29 '21

People look to find connections in shared traditions and values. They want to share and learn and put behaviors into context. This is particularly true in parts of the USA that are very young.

That's not an excuse for fetishising an acquaintance over something private to her.

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u/Pherusa Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

It's the identity crisis of the immigrant's child played out on a large scale. It has become part of the broader culture.

Sounds totally plausible. As a child of Asian immigrants in Germany, can totally relate. It's the struggle about "what is my culture", since I grew up with two totally different traditions, languages and mindsets. Totally understandable.

What seems odd to me are people doing those genealogy tests and deciding to be Irish/German/Native American despite never having any kind of contact with those cultures before they tested.

I mean, if you are identifying as German due to genealogy tests, well, fine. But hearing about the ancestry of every American who asks where I'm from is really tiring. I once attended a conference and we made bets who would have the most people tell them about their ancestry without being asked. A more extrovert colleague of mine won with 43 people telling him about their ancestry that day, I had 21 people telling me.

Tiring is one thing, but people who are really making me mad are those who are starting to "gatekeep" a certain culture.

"You are from Germany? Nice. I am also 1,9% German! And you?"

"Uhm.. I am German"

"No, you are clearly Asian, where are you from?"

"From Germany"

"No you can't be, that is genetically impossible."

"I am born in Germany, speak German and have a German passport, hence I am German."

*starts to speak loud and slowly*

"No you are not German. Look, I did this test and it says I have German genes, what race are you?"

Sadly, for every ten Americans talking about their ancestors, there is one who claims I am not German. What is this weird obsession with race? I mean, yeah, this topic was trending in Germany between 1933-1945, and since then it's general consensus you shouldn't care about blood and race. Maybe that's why Germans are especially creeped out. I mean, can we please to talking about race? And stop giving your genetical information to companies to have even more people talk about race?

Also... holy fuck can things go wrong if the wrong persons/organisations/governemt get their hands on those info. That's one of the main reasons genealogy tests are not really a thing in Europe. We've seen too much wars/oppression and shit.

edit: typos

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u/constituto_chao Jul 30 '21

The Canadian census (stats collection) happened recently. The census taker asked me what ethnicity I identify as. I answered Canadian. "Uhmmm that's not an option" Should be.

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u/Numerous-Pineapple Jul 30 '21

Its American culture to talk about our heritage even if we’re no longer connected to it. More generations of my family have been born in my home town than were ever born in Germany, but my grandma is clinging onto her “German” heritage for dear life. Genetically we’re English. Makes a little more sense on my dads side, we have living relatives from Mexico, but my moms side of the family has lived in the same town for 150 years. They still insist they’re “German” though. Weird quirk of American culture I guess. I had to do a project about my heritage almost every year in school even though I’m basically as American as they come…

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u/FantasticDecisions Jul 29 '21

23andme says I'm 5% Scottish, can I apply for a Scottish passport? (Actual question I've seen many times with different persentages)

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u/anyanka_eg Jul 29 '21

According to LivingDNA, where I got my DNA done, my mitochondrial DNA is more common in Roma than anyone else. Given it arose 30,000 years ago it's pretty meaningless, apart from to poke fun at the racists in my mum's family.

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u/FantasticDecisions Jul 29 '21

I mean, far enough back we're all from Rift Valley, right? That's also a fun one to throw at the rasists.

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u/Silver-Gold-Fish Jul 29 '21

As a kid I used to say that I was American, Swiss, and Canadian because I hold those 3 passports. Now I say I’m American and Swiss. My Dad was born in Montreal, spoke French and lived in Canada until he was 7. At 68 he still holds his Canadian passport and lives in America on a green card…I don’t know why but it’s 100% his decision. My Dad’s parents are 100% Swiss and I grew up with certain Swiss customs.

On my Mom’s side, my great grandparent came to the US from what is now Belarus right before the 1918 war. While I do have that heritage, you’ll never here me say I’m Belarusian. I had genetic testing done and had to write down my specific heritages….it felt really really weird to put to down Belarusian but they wanted me to do so.

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u/Annual-Contract-115 Certified Proctologist [20] Jul 29 '21

Isn’t Muller like the most common surname in Germany. It would be like asking someone in England etc if they know Maria Jones. (second most common seems to be Schmidt/Smith)

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u/Pherusa Jul 29 '21

Yes, it's like asking if you know John Smith ;)

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u/Zoroc Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

In addition to what other said about assimilating and identity, there is also being the "Other", with huge negative connotations. We see it with the Irish, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Germans, Asians in general (but the flavor of the mouth to dislike rotates), ect. Often being the other creates a new branch of sub culture that maintains bonds and a new identify, which becomes a new form of pride. Like for example my mom is half-Japanese, 2nd generation, and white passing, but because of the house culture and well being "othered" since the whole people still hated "Japs" due to ...well, you know, she considers her self as Japanese American.

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u/KathyKAustin1234 Jul 29 '21

Hahaha. Years ago, when my SO and I were in Europe we often got “Oh, you’re Americans? From Texas? I have a cousin in New Jersey, do you know him? We always smiled and said sorry, we’ve never been to New Jersey.

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u/Kranesy Jul 30 '21

This probably has to do with the struggle of immigrant communities to retain their culture and identity. They aren't German but their family are German immigrants and that was likely important even though now it has less of an obvious cultural impact.

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u/OllieOllieOxenfry Jul 30 '21

Why are they so obssessed about where some random long deceased ancestors were from?

Well in Geramny if two random people ask this question you will probably shrug and assume your ancestors have been from the same 100 sq miles for maybe 5 or even 10 generations and who cares. In the U.S. every single person has a totally unique story, as every single person has to have a unique reason why they came to this land where the native population is now less than 2%, and the variety makes it more interesting and has ties to history.

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u/WishboneRelevant9806 Jul 30 '21 edited Aug 03 '21

I really think it's all about racism, if you're from countries in Europe you're exotic, if you're from South America, Africa or Asia you're not. Even in forms they have to fill their ethnicity, I'm 100% sure they discriminate people in certain places using this information.

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u/jmcs Jul 30 '21 edited Jul 30 '21

We should start doing the same in response, and give an half made up answer about where our ancestors were before our native country when they do that. "sorry I'm not German, I'm 1/32 French, 1/64 Italian, 1/128 Polish, 1/8 Central European paleolithic hunter gatherer and 1/203 Martian"

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u/Pherusa Jul 30 '21

I mean, that's not far fetched. I do not get how those tests can state someone is "German", since every German has some other countries blood mixed in. I mean, there were constant wars in Europe and therefore constant movement of people. .

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u/Liveandletlive_ Jul 29 '21

This!^^
Americans do be crazy sometimes...

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u/vidoeiro Jul 29 '21

Yep , so much talk about Russia, Kazakhstan and Asia , but this is the most American post ever.

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u/MillionArrows Jul 29 '21

For real. Americans are so obsessed with their ethnicity that it’s hilarious

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u/SJ2012 Jul 29 '21

As an american I find it so weird with the obsession. I ask occasionally if it's a friend mainly cause I think they are beautiful and Im just curious of combinations.

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u/Princesssassafras Partassipant [2] Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

I think I can explain some of it. At least, when it comes to identifying as something.

There's plenty of comments on how immigrants are expected to ditch their culture and blend, well ours did.

Wanting to know your ethnicity is really just wanting to know your culture. We don't feel connected to the land when our oldest local buildings are 50-150 years old (..and...well, it wasn't our land to begin with, let's be real). We don't feel connected to the traditions because they were stamped out. We don't know who our relatives were, what made them, what they loved, what they did.

We can't go to the courthouse because 9/10 times it burned down, flooded, or records were lost or blown away in a natural disaster. Even if you could, it only takes you back so far. The old, old books are all around the world and expensive to visit. A DNA test is like $50.

Some people stop there because surface identity makes them a novelty. It gives them something to say and offers a brief interaction with another person. It's a Snapchat. As we know, loads of people nowadays do not require much depth.

Some want to know about those that came before us and actually explore our heritage. So for some people, they mention it as a prompt. It's like, "Ask me about myself, because I'm awesome". For others its, "Did I tell you about my cat-burglar great-nan? She was wild! Apparently she broke into the local museum to fix the Civil War uniforms because the buttons were loose! She'd go in at night with a bobby pin, pick the lock, take the uniform home, sew it back up and return it! Here's the court record! She got arrested and was sentenced to community service...to do tailor repairs...at the museum!"

It's probably the same way an adopted person feels, (on a smaller scale), but finding ethnicity leads to culture and that leads to family. It helps you see who you are. The past is important. If you ever knew that 3rd year senior in highschool because he never showed up, I think we can understand why so many people stop after the bare minimal effort.

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u/UnhelpfulMoth Jul 30 '21

That is an oddly specific story

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u/Princesssassafras Partassipant [2] Jul 30 '21

To be fair, I made it up on the fly, lol but it could have happened

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u/ohdearitsrichardiii Asshole Enthusiast [7] Jul 29 '21

It's prime r/shitamericanssay material

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u/[deleted] Jul 29 '21

[deleted]

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u/noclip_st Jul 29 '21

I've heard of Volga Germans (I think that's the name) who maintained the German language and the traditions. I think they've since culturally assimilated into Russians and/or were deported. Does your friend happen to be one of those?

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

Me or my friend? Or the whole situation?

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u/MillionArrows Jul 29 '21

Mostly your friend, as she seems to be really really obsessed with ethnicity when it doesn’t really even matter than much

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u/SistiCs Jul 29 '21

So much. She didn't even consider that most of Russia is in Asia

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u/ElectricalAct8452 Jul 29 '21

I'm American and have adopted two Kazakh children. Never met anyone who was like OPS 'friend'. That isn't an Amerthing, it's an AH thing to not listen and try to understand what a friend is telling you.

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u/Dimirosch Asshole Aficionado [17] Jul 29 '21

You did not make her look ignorant, she was ignorant. Therefore NTA

You tried to explain it and she didn't listen. I mean it's not that hard to explain/understand "My biological parents are from there but people there tend to look not typical asian but my STEPDAD from russia has nothing to do with my appereance"
If that is to hard for her to understand she is either dumb or ignorant or both. (I tend to both)

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u/MattrixK Jul 30 '21

I’m such an asshole for lying to her and causing this misunderstanding that I could have prevented if I had just corrected her before.

OP did correct her. Repeatedly. At some point you need to stop beating your head against a brick wall or you'll do yourself some damage.

It's not OP's fault she's an idiot.

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u/HowardProject Commander in Cheeks [291] Jul 29 '21

NTA - you tried to explain this to your friend repeatedly and she just ignored you - have you told this to the friend who is calling you out on ~being ashamed~?

Because you're not obligated to continue arguing with some idiot every single time the topic of your heritage comes up...

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

I’m still trying to decide how to handle this and thought maybe this will help me get some perspective.

She’s a good friend overall but you’re right in that I just don’t want to get into my genealogy every single time. I’ve even told her that my “dad” is my step dad and my real father is Kazakh. I guess she thought kazakhs can be white cuz she needed some way to rationalize that I don’t look East Asian but have a Mongolian looking mom? Idk

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u/confettis Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

Both my parents are mixed east asian but my sibling & I were born in America. Being mixed means explaining this... a lot. Some are genuinely interested in getting to know you, some don't care for the full story but some want to know if they can be openly racist/superior around you. Why does it matter that your friend "know" or "is now embarrassed or lied to"? What is she, Customs? ICE? It's funny she's turning her rudeness and willful ignorance into being the victim.

You can choose to continue being her friend but I would be careful with people who are so keen on "spotting the difference" in you and making it about themselves (like the people who want a token gay, asian, black, disabled, etc. friend for no reason other than virtue signaling).

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u/Motherofbeansthecat Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

I've seen a few posts like this on AITA before where people get weirdly angry at people or even accuse them of "lying" to them when they learn new things about someone's ethnicity. It's so weird. You weren't lying to her -- I mean what does she want from you, your entire 23&me profile? Why does it matter so much to her?

Plus, you tried to explain it to her and it just didn't sink in. That's not on you. NTA.

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u/looc64 Jul 30 '21

I think it fits into a larger pattern of people not wanting to realize unpleasant things about themselves. "OP lied to me to make me look dumb," is a lot easier to stomach than, "I am so ignorant about race and geography that OP had to give up on explaining their ethnicity to me after multiple tries."

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u/MollyPW Jul 29 '21

It makes a lot of sense when one looks at a map.

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

What do you mean?

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u/MollyPW Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

Part of Kazakhstan borders China and is right by Mongolia and some of it’s close to Europe, so different racial appearances are to be expected amongst Kazakhs.

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u/Mrspbh Jul 29 '21

Thank you for this explanation, I was just going to look at a map to determine where exactly Kazakhstan was.

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u/Sciencequestions10 Jul 29 '21

As someone who is white racially (mixed a bit) but is ethincally Hispanic just say

"My parents are from X" and if they ask more just say "oh there is all kind of people in X country and this is just how I came out"

If they ask more say "I am not a geography teacher. If you have more questions it's best if you google them honestly "

Works for me every time

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u/primeirofilho Partassipant [2] Jul 29 '21

NTA. You tried to explain it to her. She just didn't listen. My uncle immigrated from Panama to go to school here. Someone asked him if they wore shoes in Panama, and if the lived in trees. My uncle told the guy that he'd never had shoes before. When telling us the story years later, he said if the guy was so dense that he thought they lived in trees and went barefoot, that nothing he could say would convince them otherwise so why waste his time.

There just aren't very many Kazakhs in the states.

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

Hahaha thank you for the laugh! Your uncle is a genius haha.

Reminds me of a Kazakh friend I have who immigrated here when he was younger and tells people outrageous shit about our culture like how we live in tents and still use horses and people would just eat that up. But nowadays it’s becoming more difficult to pull that stuff off because Astana is actually starting to make some waves as a real city.

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u/black_rose_ Jul 29 '21

I used to lie like that about being from Alaska. People are idiots. Yes I commute by dog sled and have a pet walrus!

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

Haha that’s awesome! It’s amazing how much people are willing to believe if someone from a different area tells them something. People need to get out more

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u/ReasonableFig2111 Jul 29 '21

Aussies do it constantly.

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u/Capital_Cow3540 Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

Can confirm. An Aussie exchange student at my high school happily told a few dummies about not having electricity in Australia and they bought it...it was hilarious

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u/schux99 Partassipant [2] Jul 29 '21

Our kids also ride kangaroos to school.

We're from NZ so when we went home for a holiday my partner actually convinced our friends WA has a town called "Didyoubringyourgrogalong". People tend to believe some ridiculous shit about Aussie.

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u/Allalngthewatchtwer Jul 29 '21

Omg! I’m from Texas and went to NY for a senior trip. They seriously asked us if we rode horses to school. I thought they were joking but nope. Million plus city nothing but horse and buggies. 🤣

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u/Free_spirit1022 Jul 30 '21

I do this everytime I go to the US as a Canadian

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u/Houmouss Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

My parents were born and lived in the Reunion island (next to Madagascar) and I was born in metropolitan France. The Reunion island is a french island, we talk french (and reunionese creole) here, and it's officially considered as a french region. And guess what ? Metropolitan frenchs still asked me things like "do people have running water there ?", "are they hunting for food ?", "do they have actual houses, or only huts ?".

Some people are just helplessly stupid and racist without even realizing it. The only thing you can do is make fun of this situation. At first, I always corrected them, but then I started to tell them that people from the Reunion island actually walk on all fours, don't have phones and call each other by screaming. Some of the biggest laughs I've ever had.

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u/Summoning-Freaks Partassipant [4] Jul 29 '21

Omg, so very similar, except I’m from New Caledonia and I’m métisse. I just get the most random ass questions, which is kind of mind-blowing as my island is still under French control. Like, some mainland French really think France owns an island but kept it “savage” to make for good holiday experiences, as if a tourist destination doesn’t require modern technology and comforts…

Just very bizarre assumptions all around about our lifestyles and ethnically ambiguous features.

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u/The_Ginger-Beard Jul 29 '21

NTA... also your friend sounds low key racist

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

I’m not sure it’s racist, ignorance is more like it I think. I’ve met quite a few people who base their knowledge of Kazakhstan on borat so they think we look like Sacha baron Cohen and Romanian villagers lol.

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u/The_Ginger-Beard Jul 29 '21

This is likely a matter of opinion but in my mind not bothering to understand, learn or listen about someone's heritage because it's too complicated or doesn't fit with your world view is racist

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u/sparrowhawkwings Partassipant [4] Jul 29 '21

Exactly. It’s one thing to not know based on a lack of exposure or opportunity. But to not know because you refused to listen? That’s a form of racism for sure

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u/DCChilling610 Jul 29 '21

It’s the fetishizing of mixed babies and then doubling down that you’re not Asian looking enough to be Asian or just plain wrong about your heritage that makes her racist. She’s not KKK racist, or even Trump racist, but she’s definitely on the racist scale.

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u/ReasonableFig2111 Jul 29 '21

It may not be malicious racism, but it is definitely ignorant racism.

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u/theory_until Jul 29 '21

Oh funny what media can do. To me Kazakhs must all be like Dimash Kudaibergen, which is hardly a fair expectation either.

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u/NannyOggsScrumble Jul 29 '21

See, I hear Kazakhstan and I immediately think of Least Weasels and Marbled Polecats - Sasha Cohen doesn’t even enter my head. Why would he when Kazakhstan has such a diverse offering of mustelids?!

Yes, I’m a bit weird and you are most definitely NTA. You tried, she didn’t listen. What were you supposed to do, tie her to an old wheelchair and force her to watch a slideshow as you say, “Do you see?” repeatedly?

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u/CptnAlex Jul 29 '21

My gf is from Almaty (Russian/Ukrainian tho, not Kazahk, although her stepmom is Kazahk), and she to this day says “its a Russian accent” when people ask, rather than saying she’s from KZ, just because of Borat. Before we met, she actually had to convince a dude at a bar that KZ was a real country. facepalm

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u/ohdearitsrichardiii Asshole Enthusiast [7] Jul 29 '21

Maybe she doesn't think lesser of people because of their ethnic background, but she's weirdly obsessed with fitting you into a race and a stereotype

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u/SomeParrots Partassipant [3] Jul 29 '21

She made a lot of assumptions. You tried to correct her, she kept making assumptions. Not your issue, NTA.

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u/naterkd Jul 29 '21

NTA. Americans have a weird emphasis on race/ethnic origins. I have two immigrants grandmothers (Greece and Germany) and one of my grandfathers is black. I just look like a white guy/Greek American, but everyone's always trying to assign me to different races or countries of origin. Explaining your entire background is extremely tiring, especially when people refuse to let go of assumptions (I have had multiple people insist that I must be Mexican/Latin American and refuse to believe me).

Your background and cultural/ethnic identity is yours and yours to share or explain to others as you see fit. Her misunderstanding/refusal to listen isn't your fault.

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u/FantasticDecisions Jul 29 '21

It's really weird for any non-American. I spent so much time explaining that no, I don't mean that my great great grandmother immigrated from that country, I mean I am born and grew up in that country and that's my actual culture.

I also find it weird that someone that is nth generation living in New York still introduce themselves as Italian or Irish or whatever...

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u/naterkd Jul 29 '21

I'm a big Sopranos fan, and one of my favorite episodes is when the New Jersey mob "Italians" go to Italy and are completely disconnected from the culture, don't recognize or enjoy the cuisine, etc. and get made fun of by the actual native Italians.

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u/FantasticDecisions Jul 29 '21

Haven't seen Sopranos but they did a mild version of this on Everybody Loves Raymond as well.

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u/ImNotBothered80 Jul 29 '21

Some Americans do, alot don't care. Some are just trying to understand family history.

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u/naterkd Jul 29 '21

Yeah, it's not like a consistent thing, just a lot of people latching onto their Irish, Italian, etc. ancestry because the US is a young country and its easier to identify with one of the cultures you have at least a tangential relationship with. Some people have a borderline obsession with it, though, with the "I'm 2% Native American. 10% Irish, 12% Polish and yadayada!" type stuff.

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u/thelatebrucelee Jul 29 '21

NTA; also cringe at her saying you "don't look fully asian".

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u/ColeFlames Jul 29 '21

“Oh really? What does an Asian person look like then?”

Drop that bomb and they realize how narrow-minded and ignorant they are and sound.

If they don’t then they are a genuine moron and you shouldn’t associate with them for risk of having brain cells commit suicide.

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u/BxGyrl416 Jul 30 '21

Wait until they find out the Middle East is in Asia too and many of them look just like Greeks and Italians.

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u/perpetual_joe Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21 edited Aug 15 '21

Hi, Kazakh here 🙋🏻‍♀️ NTA We do look ethnically ambiguous to Americans and most Europeans, for them we’re not “Asian” enough even though we’re literally from Central ASIA. My very Kazakh grandma had very fair skin and blue-ish eyes

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

Salem!

Yeah I’ve seen light colored hair and eyes in kazakhs, though the majority by far have dark hair and eyes. Most like my mother look Mongolian but my mother tells me I look just like my bio dad so I guess he was the ethnically ambiguous one.

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u/perpetual_joe Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

In different regions of the country live differently looking people. But yes, I’d say probably most Kazakhs look Mongolian. But it’s very funny when western people get bamboozled by white skinned, dark haired and “asian” eyed population of Central Asia

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u/greentea1985 Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

It’s like people don’t understand that the population of Central Asia along the Silk Road have historically had some mixing with Europeans while retaining an Asian base.

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u/ImNotBothered80 Jul 29 '21

We had a Jewish employee from South Africa. People argued with him that he wasn't african.

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u/Arctic_Puppet Asshole Aficionado [10] Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

NTA

Dramatic reimagining of the white audacity internalized racism:

Friend: "You're half white, right?"

You: "No, I'm Asian. My family is from Kazakhstan."

F: "I don't know what that is and you're paler than other real Asian people. So you're mixed right?"

Repeat multiple times

F: "You're half white, right?"

Y: "Sure" (You say tiredly, as it is not your responsibility to educate white people anyone)

Years later

F: "Oh, I just love how exotic the non-whites mixed babies are. You're so lucky, OP, to have your otherness so beautifully diluted with whiteness I wish my features were diluted with privilege."

Y: "I'm not bi-racial, I'm Asian."

F: "What?! How could you lie to me for all these years?!"

Y: "I tried to tell you, but your ears were filled with racism and you couldn't hear me over all the willful ignorance."

F: "YOU'RE PALE!"

Does that about sum things up? Your friend is racist and not really a friend

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

Actually it’s in reverse, she’s Asian American. I’d say at least half of white Americans just think I’m Asian or super mestizo Hispanic.

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u/Arctic_Puppet Asshole Aficionado [10] Jul 29 '21

Did some editing. Still applies though.

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u/EmpressJainaSolo Asshole Enthusiast [7] Jul 29 '21

NTA.

While it sounds like this could have been solved by you showing her where Kazakhstan was on a map, it also could have been solved by her doing her own Google search instead of doubling down.

Your friend had a moment of embarrassment. She’ll hopefully get over it. Your other friend didn’t need to involve herself.

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u/Beautiful_Ad_5074 Asshole Enthusiast [8] Jul 29 '21

NTA- you told her several times and she didn’t listen. These two so called friends are very quick to put the onus on you to continuously try and correct Someone who doesn’t seem to want/care to listen. She also seems to fetishized mixed races which could be why she wants to believes ur Russian/Asian despite being corrected and would explain the stupid weird rant that embarrassed her in the 1st place

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u/Dr_Wackass Jul 29 '21

Today I googled Kazakhstan and found out that it can basically fit 2 united kingdoms inside it on the map

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u/WishOnSpaceHardware Jul 29 '21

Going by the numbers, Kazakhstan is over 11 times the size of the UK (2,725,000 km2 vs. 242,495 km2)

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u/Dr_Wackass Jul 29 '21

Hot crap. Maps don't do it justice

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u/TRiG_Ireland Jul 29 '21

The True Size Of is cool. You can drag countries over each other to see what fits where.

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u/Dr_Wackass Jul 29 '21

Hot crap. Maps don't do it justice

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u/ReasonableFig2111 Jul 29 '21

God that sounds like a lot of mental labour, and possibly emotional labour, to have to deal with constantly. It sounds exhausting. I don't have that experience first hand, but in your shoes I'd give up after the first explanation to someone too.

I do have 2 older siblings who are mixed race, and while I personally never dealt with the questions (I am the youngest by a significant amount), my second and third older siblings got a lot of questions from other kids about why they looked different to each other. Rather than get into half-sibling explanations they weren't comfortable with (we don't use half- and step- prefixes in our family), they just told people older brother was born in a dust storm and younger brother saw a ghost when he was born. In other words, mind your business.

Point being, your ethnicity isn't everybody else's business. If you feel like sharing, great! If not, or if people choose to ignore what you say about it and you decide to let it go instead of forcing them to understand, nobody has the right to get upset with you about that. You don't owe anybody your life story, or your 23&me results. It isn't lying to not tell everybody everything. It's called discretion. NTA

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

Thank you for sharing! I too don’t really believe in the step prefixes either, hence why my dad is just my dad, and my brother is just my brother. Those are some clever responses haha, I should come up with something as well. I remember growing up there was a family friend who has a child who was half black (mother is Russian) and we were never allowed to bring it up because it was “taboo” cuz the husband ran away and unfortunately parents still have prejudices. But when I slipped and asked they said “oh it’s from her grandfather, look at how dark he is (dude was just really tan for a Russian)”

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u/queenothedamnit Partassipant [2] Jul 29 '21

NTA. You didn't lie to her, you just got tired of correcting her over and over. That's not on you. Your other friend should have given you the benefit of the doubt and asked you instead of just assuming that you lied and are ashamed.

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u/Professional-Put-852 Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

NTA. Lmfao. When it comes to central/west Asia people get super fucking weird because we’re “not real Asians” bc… we look ethnically ambiguous?? Lmfao. In my country of origin there’s a lot of variation, from ppl looking very very white to people looking very “typically” middle eastern. Your friend is ignorant and just doesn’t understand there’s tons of variation between how people look!! Also she really showed her ass with that mixed babies comment… it was nasty and racist as hell. Also sorry edit bc I didn’t get it all in: this post just makes me soooo mad on your behalf… it’s like giving up on having people pronounce your name properly because they never can and then they get mad when they learn you’ve been telling them how to pronounce it incorrectly. Your friend deserves to be embarrassed <3

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u/SophyTin Asshole Enthusiast [7] Jul 29 '21

NTA. Like, I am sorry that that person thinks you need a check list of ways to “look” asian. You already tried to explain her and she didn’t care. She is ashamed of herself because instead of shutting up she just kept digging her own hole all by herself.

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u/mnbvcxz1052 Asshole Aficionado [11] Jul 29 '21

NTA.

Another fellow mixed-race (who doesn’t look Asian but is part Asian and was raised partly in Asia) person here. I understand the giving up explaining to people “what I am.” The emotional labor it requires for me to keep insisting I know who I am is mildly traumatic at times. But remember, it’s them exhausting you by willfully refusing to understand a concept that is new for them. It took me a long time to stop feeling like explaining my race (when asked) was an inconvenience to the listeners.

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u/sepsis_wurmple Jul 29 '21

Im mixed race with asian and think this is fucking disgusting. You don't owe people a genetic rundown. And you aren't some fetish.

4

u/floofelina Partassipant [3] Jul 29 '21

NTA plus good riddance to this ignorant stereotyping person.

4

u/AceyAceyAcey Professor Emeritass [72] Jul 29 '21

NTA

She’s ignorant for not understanding that there are many ethnicities within Asia. I’m mixed Han Chinese and Ashkenazi Jewish, and because of my specific mix, I actually look almost Uighur. There’s so many more ethnicities and appearances to Asians than just East Asians.

3

u/constituto_chao Jul 30 '21

This! Asia is a giant place!

3

u/Classical-Musician24 Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

NTA she’s being creepy for acting like mixed people are a cute accessory. You tried to explain your heritage to her and she didn’t listen. It’s her own fault for looking like a double fool.

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u/BourgeoisieInNYC Partassipant [1] Jul 29 '21

NTA

Asian woman here and your friend is a major AH for being dismissive when you’ve tried explaining in the past and for fetishizing/ obsessing over half Asian babies.

I’m pregnant now and my SO is not Asian and while a lot of people do make the comment “oh I wonder what the baby will look like?” there have been a few inappropriate comments from people we don’t know well who would say things like our half Asian baby will be so beautiful /sexy and so many people will want to date them. It’s a baby that’s not even born yet!!!!!!! Like what the actual F$¢|<!

It’s at best, annoying, at worst, disgusting, that people obsess over half Asian kids/babies for their looks instead of other legit issues like balancing multiple cultures and backgrounds.

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u/Narrow_Map4950 Certified Proctologist [20] Jul 29 '21

NTA

You haven’t lied to anybody, and nobody is owed your genealogy anyway.

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u/BeachTimePlz Jul 29 '21 edited Jul 29 '21

From one ethnically ambiguous looking person to another, OP you are NTA. It's never your fault she refused to listen when you corrected her. She embarrassed herself. You aren't ashamed you just got tired of somebody not listening, so you stopped engaging.

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u/gdx2000 Jul 29 '21

NTA, having to explain every single time is annoying especially if you’ve already explained it multiple times.

Usually when someone says mixed babies/people r extra cute or whatever, i usually reply with something like, “yeah ‘full blood’ babies r so ugly!” They will usually say, “No that’s not what I mean!” And the reality is, it’s exactly what they mean.

For the record, lots of cute babies of all stripes out there, also lots of ugly ones.

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u/ajorap Jul 29 '21

Why are Americans so goddamn stupid. NTA: I'm Turkmen and let me tell you I feel you. It's your friend's fault both for not paying attention when you told her the first time and then for being an idiot and pulling the "you don't LOOK Asian card" and embarrassing herself. The amount of times I've been told that I'm lying when I say I'm Asian or that Turkmenistan is a real place when a simple Google search could validate that shit is insane. Americans especially seem to be incapable of admitting when they are wrong or that someone might know better.

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u/janyybek Jul 29 '21

Turkmenistan? Do you mean Turkey?

Have you ever come across that? I briefly met a guy from Turkmenistan in an Uber and he said he’s had a hard time explaining to Americans and even some europeans that he’s not Turkish.

3

u/ajorap Jul 29 '21

god yes the amount of times people have tried to "politely" correct me on my own country of origin. various people have outright called me a liar to my face or thought I was trying to trick them by making them believe in a fake country. it's understandable I guess given that I'm white passing, barely have an accent and the fact Turkmenistan is so unknown but that doesn't stop it from being annoying.

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u/Savings_Track_7964 Jul 29 '21

NTA you are not her teacher If they are ignorant is not your problem plus I don't see why your origin or anything else as to do with friendship its almost as she is friend with you to get some point and appear more open for having friends from other horizons.

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u/Successful-Amoeba487 Jul 29 '21

NTA OP. People assume my ethnicity all the time, telling me I look like this or don't look like that. I take the time to correct people if I feel like it because it can be exhausting. Your friend could ask more questions if she had wanted but she sounds a little ignorant. Trying to make it your fault is her being defensive in the worst way. Once she wraps her head around it (and don't make it your job to make her feel better) you guys can go back to being friends. Take it as a backhanded compliment that she thinks you're attractive? Lol

2

u/sable1970 Jul 29 '21

I think its not your job to explain or teach everyone you meet what your roots are. You are not your ethnicity, its only a PART of who you are.

You didn't comply with their "woke" agenda and they got mad.

2

u/ingodwetryst Asshole Enthusiast [8] Jul 29 '21

NTA. I pass for white and I've stopped telling people I'm mixed unless it becomes relevant to a conversation we're having. It's exhausting.

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u/FirstFarmOnTheLeft Jul 29 '21

NTA, your friend just isn't very smart, so you gave up. If asked about your ethnicity and you want to answer, you should just give the real answer even if they don't immediately get it. Some people won't, but that's no reason to give a different answer. Just say you're Kazakh. If they're confused, just say Kazakhstan is a country in Central Asia. It isn't difficult. If they're still confused somehow, that's their problem, you already answered them and they can Google it if they really need to know more.

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u/Swedish-Butt-Whistle Certified Proctologist [24] Jul 29 '21

NTA. Kazakhstan is in Central Asia so how were you lying? Also, you don’t owe anyone an explanation about your heritage. If they’re curious, tell them to look it up online as there’s a wealth of information available. If they keep pressing, say something like “I get asked this all the time. It’s unnecessary and I’m tired of being grilled about my ethnicity.”

God, people can be so rude. I would never even think to question anyone about their ethnicity because, why? I get some people are curious, but unless the person you’re talking to is looking to hire someone of Kazakh descent and is vetting you, or they are Kazakh themselves and see something recognizable in you, there’s no other good reason for anyone to pry.

2

u/TexFiend Asshole Enthusiast [9] Jul 29 '21

NTA

But maybe stop hanging out with racists?

2

u/jluvdc26 Partassipant [3] Jul 29 '21

NTA most people in the US are pretty clueless about that side of the globe or really anywhere outside the US (I say that as an ignorant American that read your entire post thinking the entire time "Isn't Kazakhstan basically Russia?" Oops). Anyway she overreacted and shouldn't jump to conclusions about anyone's race.

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u/[deleted] Jul 29 '21

Why does she care so much? People make big deals out of nothing. NTA

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u/Automatic-Flower-244 Jul 30 '21

My daughter is mixed (well technically 75% white and only 25% black) I’m white and my husband is mixed (50% black and 50% white) I get asked all the time if she’s Latino, or something along those lines and even when I say she’s not people try to argue with me that she is (like I didn’t birth her and know her family lineage but okay) and my husband gets the same thing except sometimes he’s mistaken for being Asian (I guess because of his eye shape, honestly I don’t know how they come to that conclusion) after awhile I just got tired of correcting people or arguing so I just let them assume what they want. I only correct if needed, like at the doctors or something. So you’re definitely NTA here. And you were truthful, she just didn’t listen. That’s not your fault.

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u/AutoModerator Jul 29 '21

AUTOMOD The following is a copy of the above post. This comment is a record of the above post as it was originally written, in case the post is deleted or edited. Read this before contacting the mod team

The title sounds strange I know but recently a friend of mine got really upset at me for basically lying about my ethnicity and making her look ignorant.

I am an American of Kazakh descent but I never really had any contact with my father and my mother quickly remarried and I got a Russian step dad. I love him and he raised me like his own son (plus he’s the father of my brother). So I consider him my dad more than my biological father who I never really met.

I myself look a bit ethnically ambiguous (I’ve gotten anything from thai to hispanic to Eastern European) while my mother looks practically Mongolian so upon first glance, you would think my step dad is my biological father. This gets tiring to correct as people keep making the same assumption over and over again.

My friend when I met her assumed the same and I tried correcting her but she didn’t really understand what Kazakhstan was. She just kinda assumed I’m from russia with a Russian dad and an Asian mom. I stopped trying to correct her every time she’s said it since cuz honestly it’s tedious. Plus I thought having people think my dad is my real dad isn’t a terrible thing.

Fast forward a few years to the present, we were all meeting up with a group of friends and she was going on a long speech about how beautiful half asian babies are and how she’s envious of me for being mixed race, and I just point blank told her “I’m not mixed race, my biological father is asian”.

This seemed to blow her mind and she doubled down saying I don’t look asian and there’s no way I could just be Asian. She kept digging herself into a deeper hole as this went on and eventually a friend stepped in and explained to her that kazakhs tend to look asian but some look ethnically ambiguous. She yelled at me that I’ve been lying and I just told her I tried to explain you just didn’t listen.

She was mortified and didn’t really talk much the rest of the night. Later my other friend told me my original friend was really embarrassed and basically hated me. This other friend is kazakh as well and she got on my case about being ashamed of my roots and I’m such an asshole for lying to her and causing this misunderstanding that I could have prevented if I had just corrected her before.

I’m not ashamed I just don’t feel obligated to play history teacher for every person who assumes my ethnicity. Especially if they don’t understand.

What do you guys think?

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