The Good Immigrant

By Nikesh Shukla

21 writers reflect on race in contemporary Britain

Monday, 16 May 2016

First Sentences

Here are the first sentences of all our essays:

From 'Namaste' by Nikesh Shukla:

Namaste means hello.

From 'A Guide To Being Black' by Varaidzo:

With most people, their race is perhaps the only aspect of their identity guaranteed from the moment of conception.

From 'Window Of Opportunity' by Himesh Patel:

When I was four years old, I tried to jump out of my bedroom window.

From 'My Name Is My Name' by Chimene Suleyman:

One September I wrote my name as it would be seen in Turkish letters in fountain pen across my desk.

From 'Yellow' by Vera Chok:

I am yellow. I’m a small, yellow-skinned female and one hundred per cent ethnically Chinese.

From 'Shade' by Salena Godden:

Sometimes I think I am about the same shade as Beyoncé.

From 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Tokenism' by Bim Adewunmi:

The comments section is different for every story on the internet.

From 'Kendo Nagasaki And Me' by Daniel York Loh:

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 1970s Great Britain: a place that many believe was a land of joyous liberty before the totalitarian oppression of The Political Correctness Brigade committed the heinous Stalinist crime of actually making it a bit difficult to take the piss out of ethnic minorities, gay or disabled people, and only ever regard women as either battle-axes or sex objects.

From 'The Wife Of A Terrorist' by Miss L





A villain with a good heart.


From 'Is Nish Kumar A Confused Muslim?' by Nish Kumar:

On September 18th 2012 I was sitting in my house. This is a common occurrence.

From 'Forming Blackness Through A Screen' by Reni Eddo-Lodge:

I have just finished writing a book about whiteness. This was a book about whiteness as a political force, how it settles like a blanket on our comprehension, how it seeps, and strangles, and silences.

From '"You Can't Say That! Stories Have To Be About White People"' by Darren Chetty:

A few years ago, I taught a Year 2 class in East London. I had built up a good bank of multicultural picture-books and resources and shared these with the class whenever seemed appropriate.

From 'On Going Home' by Kieran Yates:

I’m looking out of the window mid-way through the eight-hour journey back to my homeland and thinking of the countless diasporic tales of going home I’ve read over the years.

From 'Flags' by Coco Khan:

Letters, they were the key. As long as you could find a letter stating the address of the flat you’d found yourself in, you could call a taxi and sneak off without waking him, indeed without anyone ever knowing you’d been there.

From 'Cutting Through: On Black Barbershops And Masculinity' by Inua Ellams:

Last year, Botswanan writer Siyanda Moutsiwa tweeted a "classic writing prompt" designed for workshops on character interaction. 50,000 tweets later, #ifafricawasabar was trending.

From 'Auditions And Airports' by Riz Ahmed:

To begin with, auditions taught me to get through airports. In the end, it was the other way around. 

From 'Wearing Where You're At (On Immigration And UK Fashion)' by Sabrina Mahfouz

I thought you’d be, you know, darker … You don’t look at all how I imagined … Well, I have to say, I thought you’d look more, ha ha, I suppose, foreign … You look a bit, English, though … It’s quite a relief you’re, well, you know …

From 'Perpetuating Casteism' by Sarah Sahim:

Most people are aware of the discriminatory Indian caste system, but many do not realise that this form of intra-racial segregation has extended beyond South Asia and into the United Kingdom through the diaspora.

From 'Beyond 'Good' Immigrants' by Wei Ming Kam:

Years ago, my mum would sometimes call me and my siblings to the kitchen excitedly.

From 'The Many-Headed Monster Of Death' by Vinay Patel:

My father’s father, my dada, is staring at me, trying to wrap his head around what I’ve just told him.

From 'The Ungrateful Country' by Musa Okwonga:

So here’s my experience of growing up in Britain; it was always a case of making sure that I was grateful.


Can't wait to share the whole thing with you, my friends, my loves, my family.

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