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Being confused for being a foreigner.

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Being confused for being a foreigner.

Post by onethousandknives » September 29th, 2014, 4:46 am

This happens very frequently to me. I'm native born in USA to native parents. This didn't start happening until recently, actually when I lost a large amount of weight I noticed it happening. I had a Pakistani convenience store clerk ask me what country I was from. I've had numerous people ask me about my "accent" and again, where I'm from. Lately the biggest thing is when I go to Polish markets people speak to me in Polish. I am part Polish, but only 25%, and I know absolutely zero Polish language. Even a Polish girl I talked to there for a good deal of time said I looked and seemed 100% Polish.

As far as circumstances why this is? First off, am diagnosed by psychologists with Aspergers, which makes you act different or whatever (mostly don't care about this variable.) Developmentally, I had a Bosnian babysitter and probably spent more of my time with her and her family (and her family friends, too) from ages of 3-10 than my mom and dad and ate their food and drank Turkish coffee and whatnot. I've not watched TV for anything besides a few major sporting events since about 2010 or so, and most media I watch or listen to is foreign in some fashion (usually Asian or European) I'm really thinking though, if it's just a combination of not wearing especially outrageous clothes, talking properly, not calling people "bro" etc.

Anyway, so many people have told me I look foreign, seem foreign, and even foreigners don't think I'm American. Does anyone else have any parallel experiences of people thinking you're a foreigner when you're native born? I mean I guess it's cool and all, but if people literally think I am a foreigner in my own country, then happierabroad seems like a logical course of action.

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Post by drealm » September 29th, 2014, 7:37 am

Maybe you have a speech impediment, combined with an unamerican personality, a few mannerisms absorbed from your baby sitter, lack of contact with natives and a rougher appearance. I'm in a similar circumstance and have also been asked if I'm a foreigner.

I grew up with a speech impediment and overcame it by hiding it with something else. Sometimes the cover just creates another speech abnormality. This happens subconsciously and I suspect this is what people are referring to when they say I have an accent. In my experience most Americans are spineless goofballs that have never made a direct statement in their entire life. They need a buffer of niceties to sandwich anything that they think will remotely offend you. If you tell people what you really think they will be caught off guard. My father was born abroad and came to the United States when he was 19 and didn't speak any English. He still has a subtle accent and mannerisms that aren't American. I also lived with my grandmother for many years who was born in Mexico and towards the end of her life only spoke Spanish. She never really absorbed into America. As of now I don't have any American friends. Most of my contact is with people in my company who are native Chinese. In addition to this I also have a very long beard because I don't have time to shave.

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Post by ladislav » September 29th, 2014, 7:53 pm

In my case, it's the opposite. People think I was born and raised here and I wasn't. I guess I can blend in quite well- doesn't happen in Asia, alas! At the same time, when I first came to the US, people ostracized me not so much because of the accent but because they all thought I was gay ( because of the way I dressed).
In the Philippines people shout Amerikano Amerikano when they see me!. Niceeee!
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!

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