Created By: NiqqaSwaqJuly 14, 2013 Last Edited By: MadrugadaJuly 24, 2013

A Swede Named Rodriguez

When someone is given a name that is normally exclusive to another race or cultural group

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Does the hero encounter someone with a heavy British accent yet a Chinese name, yet they have no Asian heritage whatsoever? Then that man the hero encounters is A Swede Named Rodriguez.

Authors do this for two reasons. One, the foreign name may be really cool. Two, they like names, but they've already established the Token character of that race but still want to use the name for a character.

Compare Stock Foreign Name (when the foreign name used is something ridiculously common). Swedes Named Rodriguez may be the result of a Race Lift

I know this is a thing, but my extremely small literary interests have prevented me from knowing most of these, please give me examples to add. Cheers!

Also note this is a WIP, thanks.

I'd also like help in how to put a picture in with the little caption box under it like in proper articles.

Examples:

Live Action TV

  • In an episode of Seinfeld Jerry gets a Wrong Number from a woman named Donna Chang and has a lovely conversation with her, thinking she's Chinese. It turns out she's Jewish, her family name originally being Changstein. George's mother gets some good advice from Ms Chang over the phone, but once she finds out that Chang isn't Chinese she rejects the advice.

Video Games
  • In Art Of Fighting, Robert Garcia is an Italian with a Spanish surname, and speaks with a Kansai Regional Accent (admittedly to give an analogue to someone speaking English with Italian accent).

Western Animation

  • In The Spectacular Spider Man Liz looks and sounds like a Hispanic young woman, but her last name is Allan. The reason for this being the character was the result of a Race Lift from the source material. The producers agreed the show needed more diversity and okayed updating her design, but felt her name was iconic to the franchise and requested it be retained.


Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • July 14, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    In The Spectacular Spider Man Liz looks and sounds like a Hispanic young woman, but her last name is Allan. The reason for this being the character was the result of a Race Lift from the source material. The producers agreed the show needed more diversity and okayed updating her design, but felt her name was iconic to the franchise and requested it be retained.
  • July 14, 2013
    Goldfritha
    • In the Nightwing series, for a prolonged time, Dick saw the manager of the apartment building only behind the sink she was working on and the like, and knew only she had an Irish accent. When he hears the voice behind him, he assumes it's the green-eyed, red-haired one, when it's really the Chinese one. She explains that she was adopted in Hong Kong and taken home by her parents.

    Note that in the United States, having a WASP name probably does not fall under this regardless of the ethnicity involved, since many such names were adopted to Americanize, or to hide origins, or to have a name that natives could spell and/or pronounce. (Ellis Island gets blamed for most of these, though a lot of them happened long after immigration was a done deal.)
  • July 14, 2013
    JonnyB
    Not sure if this fits: In the film Starship Troopers, Johnny Rico is supposed to be Filipino and Carmen Ibanez, Argentinian. Both are played by white Caucasian actors in the film.
  • July 14, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Seinfeld Jerry gets a Wrong Number from a woman named Donna Chang and has a lovely conversation with her, thinking she's Chinese. It turns out she's Jewish, her family name originally being Changstein. George's mother gets some good advice from Ms Chang over the phone, but once she finds out that Chang isn't Chinese she rejects the advice.
  • July 14, 2013
    DAN004
    • In Art Of Fighting, Robert Garcia is an Italian with a Spanish surname, and speaks with a Kansai Regional Accent (admittedly to give an analogue to someone speaking English with Italian accent).
  • July 14, 2013
    NiqqaSwaq
    Thanks for the examples guys! Keep 'em coming!
  • July 15, 2013
    JonnyB
    Does this fit this trope? In Star Trek The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard has a French name and comes from a small French village, but inexplicably is played by a British actor and has a pronounced British accent.
  • July 15, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    This trope sounds like Multiethnic Name to me.
  • July 15, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Yep, knew I'd seen this before.
  • July 24, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Live Action TV
    • In the I Dream Of Jeannie episode, "I'll See You in C.U.B.A.", Jeannie accidentally blinks Tony, and his NASA aircraft to Castro's Cuba, where he's immediately captured by a soldier assuming he's an American spy; the soldier tries contacting Castro's staff with the news, identifying himself over the phone as, Pedro Gonzales Horatio Smith, and even has to repeat and spell Smith for them.
  • July 24, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    While this is definitely related to Multiethnic Name, it's definitely not the same thing.

    For example, Bob Smith. Not a Multiethnic Name. However, if Bob Smith is a Chinese dude, it would be this trope.

    Similarly, Juan Suzuki. Multiethnic Name. But if he's half-Mexican, half-Japanese, it's not this trope.

    So yeah. There might be overlap, there WILL be confusion, but they're not the same thing.

    This does desperately need a better name, though.

    Maybe
  • July 24, 2013
    Madrugada
    The race of a actor playing a character has no bearing on this trope. Neither the Starship Troopers or Star Trek TNG suggestions are examples. The characters' names are not out of the ordinary for the ethnicity the character is said to be. I've deleted them from the OP.
  • July 24, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    @ paycheckgurl Sounds like this is a candidate for the Canonical List Of Subtle Trope Distinctions then.
  • July 24, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    That actually wasn't my comment. I meant to hit reply and I guess I added my response (the alternate titles) to the original comment posters' by mistake (I sometimes post from a phone and don't really how far down the page I am or my hand slips). My apologies to the original commenter. I didn't mean to step in your toes and it won't happen again.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable