“Mistaken Identity”

If you are a white adoptive parent of a non-white child, this could happen to them.

This is part of the experience a non-white person in America has to deal with.

Mistaken identity by resist racism

A few weeks back I read an interview with Robert Johnson, the
African American billionaire founder of BET. Johnson recounted a few
stories of mistaken identity, one in which he was mistaken for the
chauffeur of his own car.

I was thinking about this because I thought how often this type of
mistaken identity happens when white people see people of color.

A young African American guy I used to know had two occurrences of
mistaken identity in one week. He was washing his very expensive car at
his trendy condo building when management came out and told him that he
wasn’t allowed to do that. Turned out that they had a problem with
homeless people soliciting money for car washes (?). Condo owners, of
course, were allowed to use the facilities in the garage for that

Then he was walking past a restaurant when a man jumped out of a car and handed him the keys.  He had been mistaken for a valet.

To me, this was a clear example of how race can blind some white
people to everything else. This guy clearly looked wealthy by my
standards. He was always extremely well-dressed, lived in a very
expensive neighborhood and drove a new sports car.

read the rest here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

4 thoughts

  1. This happened as I met an African American single adoptive mom friend for coffee. We had our kids with us, hers a AA boy and mine a Chinese daughter. I am white. An African American man asked this friend of mine after looking at both kids if she was babysitting them. He never once assumed either child was mine or hers. He also was taken aback when she explained that each kid belonged to each of us. Neither of us said the children were adopted though.

  2. I generally really enjoy your blog, and agree with much of what you write. I do have to take some issue with one thing about this posting, though. The post is written as if only caucasian people ever assume something because of someone else’s skin color…which is very much not the case. Racism exists between and in all races, it is not a caucasian-only thing – and, we all need to be working against it.

  3. My wife (white late 40s Jewish woman) is often mistaken for my son’s nanny. Occasionally grandmother.
    My sons being 3 and 6 and Korean.
    I’ve gotten odd things too, but I don’t pay enough attention to them to even remember.

  4. I read the one comment about all Asians within 15 feet are automatically assumed related with interest. When I (white) take my daughter (Asian) and her friends (Asian) out, people comment often about what cute sisters they are. I get this from different races except Asians. However, after ten plus years of taking my niece (white/ blonde hair/blue eyes) with some of her friends (white/ blonde hair blue eyes) I never once received that comment from anyone.

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