I have a paternal uncle who arrived in the deep South 50-some years ago. He was the only foreigner the area. His face was splashed all over the newspapers as “Mo” the tennis star from Pakistan, who had a tennis scholarship at Clemson. Wherever he went, he was recognized: “You’re Mo, aren’t you!”
So 50 years ago in Greenville …
My uncle shows up at the young Nancy’s house, to meet her mother. (They had to wait 9 months till she was legal to marry.) He was an undergrad, a clean-cut, modern, polished Pakistani from a prominent family in Lahore. He’s short, brown, with a strong Pakistani accent.
She’s a farm girl, with 6 brothers, sitting around the house in dirty boots.
Nancy’s mother interviews young “Mo.” He’s still Mo. (Mohammad).
Mom: “So you’re not from here are you?”
Mom: where are you from?
Mom: Oh Palestine!
Mo: No, Pakistan.
Mom: I heard you, you said Palestine. (She remembered her Bible lessons).
Mo: I’m not from Palestine, ma’am, … I’m from Pakistan.
Mom: I know where Palestine is, son.
Mo: Forget it. Yes, I’m from Palestine.
Mom: So what religion are you?
Mo: I’m Muslim.
Mom: What’s that? Is that like Catholic?
Mom: OK. You can date her then!