Many Filipinos see a white man and just presume he is American. If you are the type of person that sees a white person in the street, mall or anywhere else and presume because they are white they are American you have more chance of being wrong than guessing correctly.
Many white people that are not American find it annoying that you presume they are American, some even find it offensive. To understand why imagine that people presumed you were Chinese because you are Asian.
Americans and Europeans are very different, while they might look the same to you they think very differently and the cultures are a million miles apart.
Also presuming a person is American because of his skin colour will often have people thinking of you as undereducated. While it might seem harsh to judge you as uneducated because of one mistake, there is the fact that surely an educated person would not presume because a person is white they are American, as they would know white people come from many parts of the world.
On figures from 2010, there were 223.5 million white people in America.
Europe has a population of 737 million of whom Ethnic minorities in Europe make up about 105 million people, so that means there are 632 million white people living in Europe.
So you can see already that there is nearly 3 times the chance of that white person being from Europe, but we still have to consider the rest of the worlds white population.
White population in other countries
Costa Rica 3.8 million
Canada 26.9 million
Puerto Rico 2.8 million
Cuba 7.2 million
Guatemala 2.4 million
Nicaragua 1 million
Dominican Republic 2 million
Mexico 56 million
El Salvador 0.7 million
Uruguay 2.8 million
Argentina 34.6 million
Chile 9.1 million
Brazil 91 million
Venezuela 11.9 million
Colombia 17 million
Paraguay 1.3 million
Ecuador 1.3 million
Peru 1.3 million
Australia 20 million
New Zealand 2.97 million
South Africa 4.5 million
Total 300.57 million
Total including Europe 932.57 million
This by no means is all of them as there is a white population in almost every country in the world.
Going on the countries where we could find information to the size of the white population means if you presume a person that is white is American you have less than a one out of 4 chance of being correct.
How do I tell the difference?
The best way and only sure way to know is to ask. When you do this do not say “are you American?” because that is presuming they are American, it is better to ask “where are you from?” that way you are not presuming anything.
There is no way to tell the difference for sure, but there are clues. Many but not all Americans tend to be louder than Europeans. Europeans tend to consider their conversation are private and will talk in a tune that they can not be heard from the next table in a restaurant, American, on the other hand, can often be heard from a few tables away.
Older men in Baseball caps, if you see older men wearing baseball caps there is a good chance they could be Americans, European men do not seem to have the same love of baseball caps as Americans.
The way they dress, I can often spot an American by the way they dress, but I could not say exactly what it is about the way they dress, however, there is something different about it.
The accent is another sure way to tell, the way Americans pronounce words and the words they use are very different to English speakers in Europe.
While on the subject of language it is a good time to mention that telling an English person that they talk slang is one of the worst insults you can give them. The English language comes from England, not America, it is why it is called English and not American. You would not like it if a foreigner said your Filipino was slang so don’t do it to us.