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

Support Films For Action

Films For Action empowers citizens with the information they need to help create a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

We receive no government or corporate funding and rely on our supporters to keep us going. Donate today.

Trending Today
It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are
Mark Wolynn6,194 views today ·
How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent’
George Lakey4,034 views today ·
Why You Should Take Your Kids Out of School
Ben Hewitt3,891 views today ·
Dreaming Beyond Capitalism: a Culture Without Fear
Martin Winiecki3,609 views today ·
Changing How We Think About Change
Ash Buchanan1,808 views today ·
8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance
Bruce E. Levine1,506 views today ·
Six Habits of Highly Empathic People
Roman Krznaric1,339 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick1,169 views today ·
The Wisdom of Insecurity
Alan Watts1,079 views today ·
Load More
Join us on Facebook
Why Are White People Expats When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?