What country are you from? No really, what country. Okay, where is your father from, your grandfather? How about……………
In a lot of the stores we stop in and in some of the taxies my husband gets asked what country is he from. He tells them he is from America and they laugh, shake their heads and tell him no way. Then they proceed to name every country in west Africa until he admits to one of them. He has repeatedly tried to convince different shop owners here in Alex that he is indeed American and that his father was not born in Africa, nor was his grandfather, or his great grandfather. He even had an Australian brother try to convince one store owner and an Egyptian who had lived in America that my husband was an American and they couldn’t convince the guy. I think the problem is they don’t meet very many black American Muslims and they think if you are it is because you are an African Muslim who moved to America. They don’t seem to understand the concept of Americans converting to Islam.
No matter what my husband says and no matter how he explains it they always shake their heads no that he can’t be an American. So, he has given up. He lets them play the guessing game and then he just randomly picks a country to say yes to. More and more he is leaning to Ghana. He has always liked that country. Sometimes he’ll go for another one of his favorite west African countries and pick The Gambia. We even considered moving to The Gambia for a while. He knows he has to stick to those countries where they speak English because he only knows a few words of French and his accent is terrible!
After he admits to being from somewhere in west Africa the cabbies or the shop owners always laugh and give the salaams and tell him that they just knew it and everybody’s happy. I just stand off to the side and shake my head and laugh.