How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?
Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?
Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.
Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.
Summer of Unrest (Slight Return). For a few days at the start of August, England was gripped by the riots that erupted in its city centres. Although there were various motivations behind the trouble and a broad spectrum of ages and backgrounds involved, the front pages were emblazoned with images of hooded youths running amok and stories of the revenge of the feral underclass.
In this final part of the Brain Shots: Summer of Unrest series, Nikesh Shukla and Kieran Yates interrogate whether young people are deliberately conforming to a stereotype foisted upon them, and point instead to the creativity and entrepreneurialism that are defining a supposedly 'lost' generation.
An antidote to the broadsheet commentariat, this street-level view of the defining moment of the Summer of Unrest finds much to inspire hope and confidence for our future.
Nikesh Shukla is the author of the Costa First Novel Award-shortlisted novel, Coconut Unlimited ('...a riot of cringeworthy moments made real by Shukla's beautifully observed characters and talent for teen banter.' Metro) and the Channel 4 Comedy Lab Kabadasses, starring Jack Doolan, Josie Long and Shazad Latif. His writing has featured on BBC2, Radio 4, and BBC Asian Network. He has performed at Royal Festival Hall, Book Club Boutique, Soho Theatre, The Big Chill and Latitude. He likes Spider-man comics. A lot.