Why On Earth Are You Here?!?

Dawn Vickerstaff
4 min readAug 11, 2023

Said Multiple Times to an American Immigrant in the United Kingdom

When I first moved to Britain, mistakenly thinking I was invited, welcomed, and about to slot immediately into a lucrative position that carried respect, spoke to my skills, and was at least similar to anything I might have been doing in the USA, I didn’t expect the question in the title. At all. It felt somewhat invasive to ask this. It questioned my judgment. It said something dark about where I landed but also about where I’d come from. It made me feel uneasy and vaguely undesirable. I wasn’t used to such a feeling.

I’ve just recently read an article by Lazenya Weekes-Richemond on Medium. It was called — So You’re A Refugee? (https://medium.com/illumination/so-youre-a-refugee-9caceb23bedb) and it detailed the pain that assumption caused her. She moved from Montserrat to Britain when the volcano blew up. I can completely understand why she’d do that. She is a Caribbean-born British citizen. In reality, for her, it’s like moving from Baltimore to California. But not really. Maybe Alabama to Alaska. She certainly had the same right.

A lot of people said in the comments that she shouldn’t feel so negative about the question because being a refugee is not something to be ashamed of. After all, there are many, many people who have been displaced around the world. It’s one of the…