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But I’m not Korean

But I'm not KoreanFor some reason, I found this direct-mail piece humorous enough to blog about. This is not the first time I’ve been assumed to be Korean based on having a surname that’s very common in that culture. This may be the first time though from a company that I’m actually a customer of. I’ve received mail from Korean Air before and had one from them in the same mail batch as this even.

At work, it’s not uncommon for Korean graduate students to be quite surprised to discover that I’m not Korean upon first meeting me. What usually happens is a faculty member tells them to come see me for access to some Web service. They always get the same sort of surprised look on their faces when they discover that who they found is not who they thought they were looking for.

This is not the first case of mistaken ethnicity I’ve experienced either. The former Jennifer Lee (my ex- for you newer readers) used to regularly get offers for Chinese affinity Visa cards. That’s not surprising though given the commonness of the given name Jennifer in the Chinese-American community. However, how the marketers figure that a guy with a Scottish name like Craig might be Korean has me scratching my head.