How do you ask someone's race without being rude?

Have you ever met someone and you can't pinpoint what they are and it's not that it's driving me crazy but this guy looks so ambiguous I can't tell what his race is.. Race isn't important to me at all but honestly I'm super curious!!! But I don't wanna sound like a weirdo wanting to know what he is...


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Most Helpful Girl

  • You can't tell by their last name? Sometimes it's a clue. "Tanaka... so you're Japanese?"

    "What's your ancestry?"
    "Where is your family originally from?"
    "What's your background?" (Or ancestral background)
    "Where were your parents from?" (If they say Seattle, ask, "But before that, where were their families from?")

    Most people have no issue telling you they're story as it shows you're interested, especially if you ask in a way that's complimentary. Such as, "You have such gorgeous olive skin, are you Italian?" It gives the indication that you're not asking to discriminate but to relieve your curiosity and to learn more about them because they interest you. :)

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    • He actually does have gorgeous olive skin

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    • But good idea thanks!!

    • Yeah try the languages, or ask what food his family cooks, something like that.

What Guys Said 4

  • Just start making racist jokes and see which one offends them the most and that one might be their race.

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  • I have always been a fan of the straight to the point just say I don't mean to be rude or anything but what race are you?

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  • Women have asked me numerous times about my race. Not once did I find it offensive. They have a natural curiosity, so they ask. There's nothing wrong with being straight forward about this sort of thing.

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  • "What's your ethnicity?"

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What Girls Said 7

  • Ask something like 'what's your ethnicity?'

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  • You don't ask. You ask where they are from (their nationality) not what race they are.

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    • But that's not good either because they could be from Texas lol

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    • I can't ask where he's from.. But I guess asking his nationality is more suitable I guess

    • Yes do that and then if it's still vague, just be like 'do you have any other type of background?'

  • Just ask where their family is from originally. They should know exactly what you mean and it isn't rude I don't think. I've been asked and I didn't find it rude.

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  • I never ask them but their appearances does say to me they have white, indian, arab or Asian in them sometimes but they appear to look mildly 'portugese'.

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  • No, but I've felt weird asking people what breeds their dog is if it's mixed. Especially if one breed is super obvious, because I don't want them to think I'm an idiot.

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  • ask them off handedly what nationality they are. like "so hey, where is your family from originally?"

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  • I would ask him directly if i were you. Why can it be rude I do not understand.

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    • I don't know some people don't like answering things like that..

    • It depends how you ask. If you ask kindly, i do not know what is the problem? If he makes a deal about it, then you will see he does not deserve your curiosity.
      Or you can ask his friends , acquaintances? If you do not want to ask directly.

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