Whenever I asked my parents if I could call my friend in America they told me I couldnt because she would be asleep so I thought all they did in America was sleep all the time.
I used to believe that if a white couple had a baby in, say, Japan, the baby would look Japanese, i.e., darker skin, straight black hair and almond eyes. If a white couple had a baby in Africa, they would have a Negro baby with Negro features.
When I lived in Korea, and my family was about to move to the States a friend of mine told me that people in the States ate weird things and one of the things they ate was monkey meat. Since I was born in the year of the monkey, I was afraid that they would try to eat me, and I tried to keep my family from moving to the States.
I used to believe that if you touched Chinese people, they would break.
My (French) mother told me that every third child born into the world was Chinese. Being a third child of entirely Caucasian appearance, I naturally assumed that I was in some way Chinese, and that this would begin to show when I was a bit older. This led to many hours at the local library researching my "heritage", and a lifelong love-affair with Chinese food. I even had a Teach Yourself Mandarin record (45 rpm) with a little booklet containing realistic interactions from Chinese households for me to repeat. Most of these seemed to involve Mrs Wu scolding Mr Wu for not helping more around the house. I was about nine years old before I realised that however hard I studied I would never actually be Chinese. Now in my mid-40s, I'm still coming to terms with the disappointment.
I believed that Mongolia was where mongoloids came from. I pictured all these mongoloids raiding villages on the steepe on horseback with fire and sword. I figured they were only nice and gentle in America because they were outnumbered.
I was born in the U.S. in 1940, and WW II was a daily topic in our household. Of course, Germans were the bad guys, and wanted to harm us. On the other hand, Mom was always cleaning, the stated reason was so we would have no germs to make us sick.
It wasn't until I reached the 1st or 2nd grade, after the war, that I finally realized that germs were not Germans, and vice versa.
I used to believe that the French perfumed their horses. Whenever a family member would try on a perfume at the mall, my dad would remark "You smell like a French horse." It took me years to realize that he really meant 'whore,' not 'horse'.
When I was little I always used to belive what my dad told me. one day we were watching the simpson and he came out with the lie all Americans are yellow! it took me years to finally think hang on...
I was on the bus one day when I was little and I saw a man wearing a turban. I was really excited because I thought he was a genie (I think Aladin had just come out). My aunt explained to me that he was sikh and I was really upset.
When I was 3 I went to Spain with my parents and while standing in the middle of a really crowded street I asked my mother where the spaniards were... I guess I was expecting to see really strange creatures instead of regular people just like me...
When I was little and everyone would talk about the Palestinians(sorry can't spell)I used to think that they were saying "palace indians" and in my head I had an image of indians living in the Buckingham Palace.
When I was in first grade, we learned about Native Americans, and how it wasn't proper to call them "Indians." At the time, my dad worked with a woman who was Indian (as in, from India), and he made some reference to her being Indian. However, I had never heard of the country of India, and I got really mad at my dad, saying "No! You have to call her Native American!" He kept insisting that, no, she wasn't Native American, she was Indian. I just thought he was being really mean and ignorant.
I used to believe that Scotch tape was made from ground-up Scottsmen who had in some way betrayed their country.
When I was about 8-9 years old, I used to think Lesbians were people who had come from a country called Lesbia.
When I was little I used to believe that you could only marry someone of the same race or nationality. I remember there was only one black boy and one black girl in my class and I felt bad they they could only marry each other. And there was an asian girl in my class, but no asian boys and I felt so sorry for her that she would never get married.
I used to believe that French people where green-like the Statue of Liberty!
In 5th grade, the first time I took a standardized test, I didn't know what box to fill in for nationality, so I crossed out everything, and underneath, I wrote, "Peach".
One day I was at the park with my five year old daughter and a Muslim couple was walking towards us. The woman was wearing a light gray burka that only revealed her eyes. I knew as soon as my daughter noticed her that there would be some type of awkward moment. Sure enough, as soon as my daughter noticed her (and by now they were well within earshot) she said, "Oooooh, somebody thinks they're a ghost." The man just smiled as I'm sure he realized that my daughter had never seen someone in a burka before. I have no idea if the woman smiled. :)
When i was little i used to believe that only Americans could change their accents to match other peoples', like Australians or English for instance. I thought they were "stuck" with their accents for life or something, but Americans had this ability to talk differently. My good friend, who's from England, began talking with an American accent after being teased about hers, and i was shocked!