As I mentioned in my previous post, last week I attended a book talk hosted by Five Leaves, an independent bookshop in Nottingham. The talk was by the creator of the book, The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla who inspired me to write a letter to the MP in the constituency my school resides in. Here it is:
Dear *insert name here* MP,
My name is Emily Simms and I am a year 13 student at *insert school name here*.
I am writing to you because I feel an incredibly important piece of literature should be on the school syllabus in some shape or form. The piece of non-fiction I am referring to is called ‘The Good Immigrant’ by Nikesh Shukla, which features 21 black, Asian and minority ethnic voices that demonstrates what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that “doesn’t seem to want you”.
At *insert school name here* 2.2% of students do not have English as their first language, which is a staggering minority, which means that our school consists of predominantly white-British pupils. Despite this, there are those who have opinionated views on immigration when in reality they have never met one of these “immigrants” they speak of in such a harsh and discriminatory tone. Yesterday I attended a book talk featuring the creator of the book himself where he spoke about the influences of this book and the prejudices that he has faced. One member of the audience asked, ‘What’s next for the Good Immigrant?’ because this book is more than a Waterstones bestseller, it says something about our society and how it needs to change.
The book is a collection of essays which explore why ‘society deems people of colour as bad immigrants’ and it is especially resonant in a time where the far right are becoming increasingly popular, a main example being the the outcome of the Amercian election. The outcome of the EU referendum saw the rise of racial attacks because our country is more worried about people who have lived in our country for more than half a decade and those who need it now, rather than the future of our country itself . In school we have posters scattered around with our ‘British Values’ but it is a passive notion, I believe that young people need to read and hear the voices that are muted in order for the next generation to strive for equality.
*End of letter*
Who knows if I will get a response, but considering my mother had to buy a new book of stamps specially, I would hope it would not go to waste. Will this person just think I’m a ‘social justice warrior’ that had nothing better to do with their time? I would like to think that wouldn’t be the case, but if I receive a reply I will be sure to update because it really is a brilliant collection of essays.
Emily Simms: 22:11