‘Here’s the truth of the matter,’ says Musa Okwonga. ‘I find racism boring.’
Musa Okwonga, is one of the 21 British black, Asian and minority ethnic writers, poets, journalists and artists that have contributed in this important collection of essays that explores what it means to be a person of ethnic minority in Britain today.
I don’t like labels. I don’t use them. Individuals are defined by several characteristics, nationality, gender, religion, profession, etc. Colour or race do not necessarily define an individual. Terms like BAME (British black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) put everyone in the same pot by erasing huge cultural differences between individuals. That said, terms like BAME are a necessity. They exist because society recognises that racial prejudices and discrimination is a fact. We may live in a multicultural country, but this does not mean that a BAME person is accepted. Studies show that throughout the UK, young black unemployment is close to 50%, and around two-fifths of people from ethnic minorities live in low-income households, twice the rate for white people.
The Good Immigrant is a crowdfunding project. It is funded directly by readers through the new website, Unbound. It is a new way, quite promising I would like to think, way of publishing. The book emerged out of a comment on a Guardian article. It is a book “of what it means to be a person of colour” in Britain now. What it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t accept you. “The constant anxiety we feel as people of colour to justify our space, to show that we have earned our place at the table, continues to hounds us”, says the editor of the book, the writer Nikesh Shukla.
The Good Immigrant is not a comfortable read, does not meant to be. It is an important collection of poignant, angry, humorous, challenging, eye-opening stories.