Typecast as Terrorist
September 15, 2016 2:11 PM   Subscribe

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

Riz Ahmed (previously) writing at The Guardian
posted by juv3nal (16 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
Riz!

Deadset and Nightcrawler are both on Netflix at the moment, and are worth a watch if you haven't already.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on September 15, 2016


That was a great read. Thank you.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:32 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is a great piece of writing (and the collection it's from, The Good Immigrant, looks amazing too). Now I'm hoping we'll get more of Riz-the-essayist (as if he wasn't already talented enough as an actor and musician....)
posted by karayel at 2:37 PM on September 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


This was beautifully written, just a perfect mix of sorrow, humor, and horror.
posted by xyzzy at 2:39 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


What a fucking farce airport security is when the "random" screening pairs the same hapless airport employee and the same passenger over and over again.

And yes, it's a good essay.
posted by GuyZero at 2:43 PM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


also, this is a really interesting observation--
The reason for this is simple. America uses its stories to export a myth of itself, just like the UK. The reality of Britain is vibrant multiculturalism, but the myth we export is an all-white world of lords and ladies. Conversely, American society is pretty segregated, but the myth it exports is of a racial melting-pot, everyone solving crimes and fighting aliens side by side.
I'm not sure if it completely works--British multiculturalism is certainly vibrant in a lot of places and contexts, but it's also denied and viciously attacked (and always had been) in many others. But I think he's onto something here about the different images and narratives of diversity that get projected in mainstream media.
posted by karayel at 2:51 PM on September 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Heathrow airport draws its staff from the nearby Asian suburbs of Hounslow and Southall. My “random selection” flying to LA was so reliable that as I started travelling more, I went through a six-month stretch of being searched by the same middle-aged Sikh guy. I instinctively started calling him Uncle, as is the custom for Asian elders. He started calling me “beta”, or son, as he went through my luggage apologetically.
posted by latkes at 3:05 PM on September 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Deadset and Nightcrawler are both on Netflix at the moment, and are worth a watch if you haven't already.

Nightcrawler has several great performances, and Riz Ahmed's is one of the best.
posted by straight at 3:40 PM on September 15, 2016


I've been through a secondary inspection the first time I came to the US. I was white and it was bad enough. I can't imagine it having brown skin. It was and still is one of the top 5 terrifying experiences of my life.
posted by Talez at 3:49 PM on September 15, 2016


But I think he's onto something here about the different images and narratives of diversity that get projected in mainstream media.

I'm a US citizen, and was gobsmacked to find out chicken tikka masala not only originated in the UK but is considered a national dish. The food a lot of "Indian" restaurants serve here is probably more properly defined as "British", but since it's not crumpets and tea we assume it's not.
posted by schroedinger at 4:04 PM on September 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Good read. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:05 PM on September 15, 2016


Yes, really well written, and I would love to see more stuff from Riz please
posted by Myeral at 1:58 AM on September 16, 2016


A very good piece indeed: thanks, juv3nal. Perhaps it’s below his pay-grade now, but I reckon he could make a very good Dr. Who.
posted by misteraitch at 3:28 AM on September 16, 2016


> and the collection it's from, The Good Immigrant, looks amazing too

Sold out in physical-book form. Grr. It would be nice if it could get picked up by a publisher.
posted by desuetude at 7:43 AM on September 16, 2016


desuetude It's only sold out on the initial Unbound backing run (Unbound is like Kickstarter for books*), it will be on general release.

(* Disclosure: I know people at Unbound, but I don't work for them)
posted by garrett at 8:18 AM on September 16, 2016


schroedinger: I'm a US citizen, and was gobsmacked to find out chicken tikka masala not only originated in the UK but is considered a national dish. The food a lot of "Indian" restaurants serve here is probably more properly defined as "British", but since it's not crumpets and tea we assume it's not.

Absolutely. Incidentally, the first Indian restaurant established here in the UK (in 1809/10) predates our first fish-and-chip shop by 50 years. And curry was being eaten here well before that, too.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 7:55 AM on October 4, 2016


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