When I lived in Athens, Georgia, I had a Persian friend who been educated in Paris. I joked to her once about having been sorry she ever left Paris to end up here and she told me “No, I like it much better here.” I asked why and she said “In Paris, I got a lot of suspicion and dirty looks, because they could tell I was Iranian, even though I spoke fluent French. Here, that never happens.”
Granted, Athens is a college town and all that, but you run into plenty of Real Murkins at the Publix and the Winn Dixie. And they don’t, or at least didn’t, screw with her for being Persian, not the way Parisans did.
The story always made me feel proud of my country, that even in the supposedly backwards south there was less xenophobia than in Paris.
That’s why seeing conservative politicians and radio hosts stir up Islamophobia pisses me off so much. And why it pisses me off even more when sensible, moderate conservatives tell us that Real Murkins can’t help being nativist, that it’s all as American as apple pie.