January 24, 2022

Wajahat Ali On His New Book “Go Back to Where You Came From”

The last five years highlighted the racism, xenophobia, and islamophobia which exists in American society—but it didn’t start then. In his new book Go Back to Where You Came From And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American, my guest Wajahat Ali takes a clear-eyed and very funny look at this dark part of our American identity.


“Wajahat Ali’s deeply personal and keenly perceptive memoir is a clear-eyed account of his American immigrant experience.… We are all fortunate to be on the receiving end of not only his intellect, but his humanity and heart.”

― Katie Couric, Emmy Award-winning journalist


“This is the book I’ve been hoping Wajahat Ali would write for ten years―hilarious, stylistically fearless, deeply humane.”

― Dave Eggers, author of The Every


“Wajahat Ali has already proven that he is the fastest mind on TV. Now his fans can sample his brilliance on the page.”

― Ishmael Reed, author of The Terrible Fours


“This book is a tour de force―equal parts tragedy and laugh-out-loud comedy. With brazen wit, rigorous analysis, and searing insight, Wajahat Ali speaks to the first-generation American’s dilemma of being both ‘us’ and ‘them.’”

― Suleika Jaouad, author of Between Two Kingdoms


“A hilarious and heartwarming treatise on what it truly means to be American in the twenty-first century. You’ll be laughing so hard you won’t even notice the inevitable Islamic takeover of America! Oops, I’ve said too much.”

― Reza Aslan, author of God: A Human History


“Wajahat Ali brilliantly and lovingly unpacks the complicated history and urgent lived experience of being otherized in America.… [A] rich feast for all the senses―a must-read.”

― S. E. Cupp, author of Losing Our Religion


“This powerful and moving book is, at its heart, a love story. The beloved, flawed and tragic — so flawed, so tragic — is America. The lover’s hope is always undermined. And yet his hope somehow endures.”

― Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West


“Find a place on your bookshelf between Mark Twain and James Baldwin. Read this book before putting it there.”

― Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny


“With wit and charm, Ali has delivered a masterful meditation on growing up brown in America…An intoxicating rejection of cynicism in the face of existential threats to multiracial democracy, and a clear-eyed call to arms against the forces seeking to stop the expansion of American democracy. An affirmation of the country America could be.”

― Mara Gay, editorial board, New York Times


“In prose at times hilarious and at other times deeply moving, Wajahat Ali chronicles a uniquely American experience. All will benefit from reading his story.”

― Representative Ilhan Omar


“Full of wisdom and compassion, not to mention Ali’s signature humor. As educational as it is entertaining. I wish my nine-year-old immigrant self had this book when the playground kids were telling me to go back where I came from.””

― Gary Shteyngart, author of Our Country Friends


“A tender knife-sharp analysis of racism . . . personal, painful, familial, and global”

― Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate Emeritus –This text refers to the hardcover edition.


Apple Podcasts Apple Podcasts Apple Podcasts Apple Podcasts

Sources for audio clips

Donald Trump vows to ban Muslims entering US - ITV News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viDffWUjcBA
Wajahat Ali: Muslims will ‘never be absorbed into whiteness’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLq8YErK0mM
Racism on Social Media || STEVE HARVEY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60QLI-4GdNo
Why are U.S. Republicans being accused of voter suppression? - CGTN America https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmzfD6KJ9Pg

Cyberbullying prompts teen's suicide - CNN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFKoMvT6xOg

GOP and School Boards
Republican Calls To STORM Pro-Mask School Boards - The Young Turks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7lcWsdd8hM

Trump Voters
Trump voters explain their unshakable faith - CBS Sunday Morning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxHp8Hughd0

Virginia Republicans Dig In On An ‘Anti-Critical Race Theory’ Movement - MSNBC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKXRkpj6gPw

US: Mosque burnt after Trump announced Muslim ban - Al Jazeera English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MfmKHNNrFo

Post 9/11 Climate
American Muslims Share Post 9/11 Experiences With Islamophobia - MSNBC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqb1sclGWWg

Domestic Crusaders
Wajahat Ali & The Domestic Crusaders on Living the Life - Islam Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpMPFhZN2JM

Republicans corrupting voting
Republicans Lay The Groundwork To Subvert the 2024 Election - MSNBC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiA447yin9E

Wajahat Ali: Muslims will ‘never be absorbed into whiteness’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLq8YErK0mM

Show Credits

Host: Alyssa Milano
Executive Producer: Alyssa Milano
Associate Producer: Ben Jackson
Editing and Sound Production: Maciej Lewandowski
Music by: Josh Cooke & Eleisha Eagle and Milo Bugliari