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My story as an Indian immigrant - MinnPost

Forty years ago this month, Fred de Sam Lazaro arrived in the United States from India. The PBS correspondent marked the anniversary by writing this article for "PBS NewsHour." It is republished with permission.

My son Anthony recently attended a hearing in Minneapolis federal court.

“Are you Fred’s son?” asked the judge as he pored over case documents, noticing the young attorney’s unusual surname.

“We went to college together at St. Scholastica,” the judge continued after confirming the kinship. “Please give him my best.”

Anecdotes like these are tonic to an immigrant in ways few native-born Americans could fully appreciate. Never in three decades of professional life have I ever been asked if I was my father’s son. For the uprooted, there are few greater urges than to feel rooted.

Forty years ago, I arrived in America with none of the social bona fides, the pedigree that comes from T-ball, Boy Scouts, junior prom or graduating from the local high school. There was an upside to this: the chance for a social facelift. Skeletons from the past could be left behind (certainly before Facebook and Instagram), so important to a somewhat reserved, underachieving adolescent seeking to make a grander entrance through the doors of opportunity America would surely open.

Learning American English

The first task was to learn the host language, a serious undertaking even for one who thought he’d grown up speaking English. Our first encounter in America came even before we were welcomed by my older sister, who’d arrived years earlier and paved the way for our immigration, as my mother and I approached the immigration officer at San Francisco International airport.

“Do you speak any English?” she bellowed.

“Of course,” responded my mother, bred on Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot, a bit taken aback. I’m fairly certain she’d never been asked that question before and likely conveyed a tiny hint of...

Source: www.minnpost.com


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@johngreen Big fan! I am in a Masters of Journalism program. History buff. How can I work in Educational Television? Thanks! 08/24/15, @JoshFuttersak

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