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Is this an honest mistake or subliminal racism?

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Nicolas Pilapil is a communications employee who has been mistaken for his co-worker in the public relations department about 50 times according to a SF Gate report.

The two men have professed that besides both being of Asian heritage and in their 20’s, they do not share many other physical commonalities.

Yet this instance is not a rare circumstance. When The Washington Post asked people on Twitter about similar experiences, nearly 400 people responded.

One person on Twitter said, “My wife is Burmese and constantly gets asked where she’s from. People assume she is everything from Hispanic to Hawaiian to Filipino. I can’t say how much stress it causes her, but I know she finds it quite tiresome, especially when people try to justify their guess #WorkTwins

While some may argue that confusing those of the same racial or ethnic background is an honest mistake, many argue that misidentifying individuals is a form of microaggression.

You can check out all the Twitter responses, including some criticisms of this sort of occurrence right here.

One African American associate professor at Temple University, Kareem Johnson, claims that he is often called Hakeem or other names of ethnic origin. Another Sikh man, Mandeep Singh, makes it a point to call out a mistake whenever he is mistaken for a co-worker.

While an individual may let a mix-up slide once or twice, if it happens so many times, the individual can be traumatized, depressed or even carry suicidal thoughts.

Pilapil said, “it makes you feel invisible.” He felt that he was not being recognized despite the effort he was putting in.

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