Mistaken Ethnicity YKTTW Discussion

Mistaken Ethnicity
Person is mistaken for an ethnicity not their own
(permanent link) added: 2012-01-18 04:47:30 sponsor: SonofRojBlake (last reply: 2012-01-19 07:37:51)

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Is This Tropeable?

A character or actor is assumed by another to be of a particular ethnicity when they're in fact not. Common enough experience in Real Life for those whose features conform to a stereotype or who live and/or work in a particular area or profession. The character/person's reaction to the assumption can quickly give an insight into their attitudes.

Specifically not overlapping with Mistaken Nationality, as nationality is not, in the case of this trope, the issue, but rather the person's background. Potentially Unfortunate Implications - "You look (insert ethnicity)". Usually (but not always) white people being assumed to be Jewish/Hispanic/black.


  • On an episode of Seinfeld Elaine dates a man she believes to be black. As it turns out, he isn't and in fact, he believes she is hispanic. Once they realize they're "just a couple of white people", they are both visibly disappointed. It is implied they break up almost immdiately

Real Life
  • Ethel Merman vehemently denied that she was Jewish, which led to her being accused of ant-Semitism.
  • Charlie Chaplin was famously "accused" of being a Jew, and graciously responded "I do not have that honour."

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