The Dabblers meet Hashi Mohamed
In our fourth guest special, Hajar speaks to barrister and author Hashi Mohamed about his memoir People Like Us.
We think you'll like this book. We don't do review episodes on non-fiction, but Hajar read this memoir and has since told EVERYONE about it.
People Like Us is a friend to anyone who's been through the British state school system, and an eye-opener to those lucky enough to have avoided it.
It's a superb book - both touching and informative, while clearly structured and beautifully written. It strikes the perfect balance between personal memoir and nuanced social study.
Hashi is generous with his own experiences and emotional journey, while providing the vital context needed to show how he's the anomaly in the mole-hill-ridden joke of a playing field we like to call an education system.
Mohamed doesn't wish to be held up as a walking example of how children from disadvantaged - or even average - backgrounds can work hard to achieve their dreams, but he does demonstrate how a difficult journey is nigh-on impossible if you don't understand what you're up against.
When 'fitting in' is given as much weight as intelligence and aptitude, state school kids are not only navigating financial risk, bad luck and their own mental health, but the underlying prejudices of risk-averse gatekeepers.
We urge you to read this book. It'll help you make sense of your own experiences, and understand the slight shifts that can make a big difference now - whether you're raising a child, mentoring a teenager or interviewing candidates.
What does it take to make it in modern Britain?
Ask a politician, and they'll tell you it's hard work. Ask a millionaire, and they'll tell you it's talent. Ask a CEO and they'll tell you it's dedication. But what if none of those things is enough?
Raised on benefits and having attended some of the lowest-performing schools in the country, barrister Hashi Mohamed knows something about social mobility.
In People Like Us, he shares what he has learned: from the stark statistics that reveal the depth of the problem to the failures of imagination, education and confidence that compound it.
We live in a society where the single greatest indicator of what your job will be is the job of your parents. Where power and privilege are concentrated among the 7 per cent of the population who were privately educated. Where, if your name sounds black or Asian, you'll need to send out twice as many job applications as your white neighbour.
Wherever you are on the social spectrum, this is an essential investigation into our society's most intractable problem. We have more power than we realise to change things for the better.
Listen now and if you do get the book, tell us what you think!