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Woman Mortified After She Learns She’s Been Incorrectly Assuming Her Friend’s Ethnicity For Years

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There is nothing wrong with people who are inquisitive about your ethnic background. But it’s problematic when people keep making assumptions about you.

And then there are worse things that can happen as it did to Redditor janyybek, a guy who describes himself as “ethnically ambiguous.”

He said that repeatedly clarifying his ethnic identity to people is tedious—including to a female friend who keeps making assumptions about his background.

But when things came to a head while catching up with friends, he turned to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for not being truthful about my ethnicity?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“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 stepdad.”

“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 a**hole 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?”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole in the situation.

“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 appearance.'”

“If that is too hard for her to understand she is either dumb or ignorant or both. (I tend to both)” – Dimirosch

“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).” – JustheBean

“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.”primeirofilho

“This is so American it’s ridiculous.” – -that-there-

“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…” – HowardProject

The OP responded:

“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”

Overall, Redditors thought the woman caused her own embarrassment by making assumptions about the OP’s background after not listening to him in the first place.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo