The Good Immigrant Review
The Good Immigrant is for everyone in Britain
As ethnic minorities in Britain it is easy to see how easily things can be taken for granted, how misinformation about non-white cultures can be spread without hesitation, how an all-white reading list says that white people have rightfully earned their spot as the universal voice of science, philosophy and literature. As “othered” people our parents have to fill us in, or we have to educate ourselves, on the Avicennas, the Una Marsons, the Marcus Garveys, the Claudia Joneses, the Sophia Duleep Singhs, the Sara Forbes Bonettas – names that give us an important presence in British history, names unheard by people who have gone from GCSE to PhD level without knowing how non-white bodies shaped British society.
In this context I’m really pleased about the existence of The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays by twenty-one writers exploring what it means to be black, Asian and minority ethnic in Britain today. This is an unusual book to be in the Guardian’s bestseller list as well as many “recommended reads” shelves nationwide. All of the writers work in media as actors, poets, journalists, comedians and educators. It was funded via an Unbound campaign led by Nikesh Shukla, which gained impressive momentum with ambassadors such as J. K. Rowling. I enjoyed reading this book; it was good to see essays penned by so many respected poets, including Sabrina Mahfouz, Inua Ellams, Salena Godden and many more. As someone of mixed Caribbean heritage who grew up in London, I wondered if this book would offer me any refreshing insights, and it certainly did.