Why Are White People Expats When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?
Why Are White People Expats When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?
By Mawuna Remarque Koutonin / theguardian.com
Jul 8, 2016

In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”.

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal, the leading financial information magazine in the world, has a blog dedicated to the life of expats and recently they featured a story ‘Who is an expat, anyway?’. Here are the main conclusions: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”

The reality is the same in Africa and Europe. Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats. They are immigrants. Period. “I work for multinational organisations both in the private and public sectors. And being black or coloured doesn’t gain me the term “expat”. I’m a highly qualified immigrant, as they call me, to be politically correct,” says an African migrant worker.

Most white people deny that they enjoy the privileges of a racist system. And why not? But our responsibility is to point out and to deny them these privileges, directly related to an outdated supremacist ideology. If you see those “expats” in Africa, call them immigrants like everyone else. If that hurts their white superiority, they can jump in the air and stay there. The political deconstruction of this outdated worldview must continue.

Mawuna Remarque Koutonin is the editor of SiliconAfrica.com, where this blog was first published. Follow @siliconafrica on Twitter.

Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow @GuardianGDP on Twitter.

0.0 ·
0
Featured Pay Per View Films
Generation Revolution (2017)
72 min
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min
Trending Today
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine11,449 views today ·
Samantha Bee Weighs in on Aziz Ansari and the #MeToo Backlash and It's Very On Point
8 min2,808 views today ·
Paramedic's Response to "Burger Flippers" Making an Equal $15/Hour is Beautiful
Craig Carilli2,731 views today ·
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min2,487 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min1,814 views today ·
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley1,363 views today ·
The Surprising Nobility of Shit: a Serious Response to President Donald Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Remarks About African Immigrants
Adebayo Akomolafe1,065 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick657 views today ·
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action318 views today ·
Load More


Love Films For Action? 

It's hard to rely 100% on ads to keep our organization going.
If you get some value from this library, consider making a donation today.

Support us on Patreon

Coming soon! We're days away from launching a Patreon campaign! We hope you'll be among the first to support this new direction for Films For Action. The goal is to go 100% ad-free by next year, and become 100% member supported!

Join us on Facebook
Why Are White People Expats When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?