Right, this is a highly delayed response to something writer Kavita Bhanot has written about my memoir #TheBoyWithTheTopknot. Was gonna ignore but it was repeated recently in this Guardian review of #EmpireLand, and I find it deeply offensive.
"White supremacist"?! I cut my hair, for a bunch of complicated reasons, most of which had nothing to do with race or assimilation. I was one of few kids with topknot in my school, sure, but also I was the only one in my family with a topknot...
... also, I was learning lots about religion and felt I didn't need outward symbol of religion to demonstrate my faith. Also, I was just a shy kid who struggled with looking so different. To reduce this all to me succumbing to "white supremacy" is offensive and, frankly, thick
Staggered that you could read #TheBoyWithTheTopknot, and all the complexity it contains, and come to this conclusion.

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More from @Sathnam

29 Jun
Seeing history teachers use #EmpireLand has been thrilling. Didn’t expect it to happen, let alone so quickly. Also amazing that @penguin is now donating 15,000 copies of #EmpireLand to British schools as part of its #litincolour project. 30 for each school sathnam.com/empire
My hope is not to give students a rigid way of seeing empire, but to show them how to talk about empire with nuance, to avoid the basic pitfalls, and to be introduced to a wealth of other history books, some of which I even disagree with. #Empireland
#litincolour aims to introduce students everywhere to writing by writers of colour. I was in final year of university before I read my first brown author, and in my 40s before I started thinking about empire. All too common failure in British education.
Read 4 tweets
31 Mar
Everyone involved in this report, from Munira Mirza (head of policy unit), to Tony Sewell, to Boris Johnson himself, has been critical of concept of institutional racism and argued racism is culture of "victimhood". And guess what it concludes...
Needless to say, just did a @BBCr4today debate with someone (headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh) who has also accused BLm of encouraging a culture of "victimhood". This is a calculated and concerted effort by Britain's right wing to argue that racism is not a problem.
Her argument that "decolonising" curriculums is about deleting great white men is disingenuous. You can teach the cannon and also incorporate brown people and colonial history. It's a failure of education that I didn't study single brown author until final term of uni #EmpireLand
Read 4 tweets
5 Jun 20
I entered journalism when Stephen Lawrence inquiry made Establishment face up to its own racism in the way #blm is making people think now. I remember reading piece in which one editor said: "If BAME applied, we would recruit them". I applied for 100s of jobs and got 2 interviews
And I was a working class Asian person who had got into Oxbridge. How much of a chance would have black candidates have got? Judging from their almost total absence on Fleet St: none. I don't feel that things have really improved either.
The other year I met one of the editors on a tabloid who had rejected me. I told them this story, feeling that I had made it and had nothing to prove. And he said: "The thing is, we look for people of a certain standard."
Read 4 tweets

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