Don’t Call them Expats, They are Immigrants like Everyone Else

In the Western lexicon of human migration there are still lot of remnants of a white supremacist ideology, with hierarchical classes of words created to differentiate White people from the rest of humanity, 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 Wikidpedia, “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 any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat regardless of his skin color, country, etc.

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.

In fact, saying you are expat means you subscribe to racism because “expat” is of a White supremacist vocabulary invented to differentiate White people abroad from other races also living abroad.

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 have 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 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.” – Wall Street Journal

This reality is the same in Africa. White people want to differentiate themselves and have their superiority recognized in using words like expat and other similar words. If you call them immigrants, they’d feel insulted.

Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats. They are immigrants. Period.

“I work for multinational organizations 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” wrote an African migrant worker.

Most White people are in denial of the racist system they enjoy. And why not? And yet our responsibility is to deny them these privileges, directly related to an outdated supremacist ideology, and a mindset that many people still want to keep active in the world.

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 work must continue!

Expatriate
Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN

About Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of SiliconAfrica.com, Founder of Goodbuzz.net, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at linkcrafter@gmail.com

147 Responses to “Don’t Call them Expats, They are Immigrants like Everyone Else”

  1. Nzingha Shabaka

    They fit all the discription of an immigrant, when they left Europe looking to survive. The truth is they were immigrants/invaders, colonizers, murders, or we can let them have their perferred word, but you have to put it this way. Expats/colonizers/invaders/murders/kidnappers, that is perfect. Be aware, they will not act like other immigrants, they will be coming in for the kill.

    Reply
      • AnnVeja

        accusing all (let’s call them) whites of “white supremacy”, though there are certain groups of white people who themselves suffer from “(white?) supremacy” that comes from other certain groups of whites and manifests itself in the same manner as in the case of Africans or Asians being called migrants. And of course not to forget the question of linguistics of so called “white supremacy” rethoric. There are nations that do not share the same linguistic features as English or French. Regardless of who is the person in question, every single one of them would be called a migrant in some languages because there is simply no other word to define people who are changing the place of their residence.

        Reply
  2. Patrick

    Amysant Mawuna Remarque Koutounin. Malheureusement, nous qualifions bien d'”expat” ceux des nôtres qui partent travailler à l’étranger avec une date limite de séjour professionnel. Donc, des salariés, plutôt hauts placés dans la hiérarchie de l’entreprise, qui acceptent de quitter leur confort local pour une situation inconnue, avec femme et enfants. Très loin donc de l’aventurier allant tenter sa chance pour un avenir meilleur. Celui là, nous l’appelons émigré. Les mots ont un sens en français. Nous y sommes sensibles.

    Reply
    • Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN

      So a french teacher in new york is not an expat but immigrant, right? (Most compete for those uncertain and unknown destination positions)
      or do you think she left a far superior life in France to suffer in the united states teaching poor kids?

      Whatever, you call them expat in France if you wish. but once they are abroad they are immigrants like everyone. period.

      Reply
  3. Krzysztof

    Poles and other Eastern Europeans moving to UK are called immigrants, despite being white.FAIL

    Same applies to all Europeans moving to USA.

    Reply
    • Sergio

      It’s not a fail at all. Truth is that we call ourselves expats despite the fact that some UK folks call us immigrants when not PIGS. This last word pretty “racist”/stupid BTW.

      I’ve never realised about this fact until I read this text and I must say that the author is totally right. But I’d like to point out that in my case when I left Spain I called myself immigrant and I turned it into expatriate when I first started to feel that my country let me down, which made me reject it. Obviously this is all about feelings and I don’t hate my country but the system

      Reply
  4. Krzysztof

    “Most white people would be in denial of the racist system they enjoy.”
    There is more racism towards Eastern Europeans in UK than against any other group….

    Reply
  5. Krzysztof

    “’s a term exclusively reserved for western white people” I hope you aren’t claiming Eastern Europeans aren’t white.

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  6. ValeriE

    You can argue about the fine-grained details of a definition and always find inconsistencies (@Krzystof), but what the author has well described here is a broad system of discrimination with roots in white supremacy. An eye-opening article, thank you, Mawuna!

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    • AnnVeja

      so what can you call then the phenomenon when eastern european labor migrants are always reffered as to migrants and never as to expats by western europeans? what is it? still white supremacy? western-european supremacy? uk-supremacy, french-supremacy? what? or it doesn’t count as supremacy of somebody over somebody at all?

      Reply
      • Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN

        Please read our previous post on “White is not a skin color” but an ideology. Not all Europeans were accepted and included in the white race brand until recently. http://www.siliconafrica.com/im-not-black/

        So white supremacy could exist without including some white people, like it was for long time the case of Irish, and some southerns europeans.

        There were no White people in Europe before the Renaissance.

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        • AnnVeja

          Eastern europeans are not mentioned in the article http://www.siliconafrica.com/im-not-black/ There are only “Jews, the Irish, the Italians, the Spanish, the Greeks” mentioned as recently added to the “white race”. Should readers assume that Eastern Europeans were already included in the group of “whites” before that? If so, then I want to ask my previous question again: what is this phenomenon that Eastern Europeans face today in Western Europe when they get the same treatment as Asians or Africans; how do you define it? Or are Eastern Europeans still not accepted into the group of “whites”? Then why they are not mentioned in this article among “Africans are immigrants
          Arabs are immigrants
          Asians are immigrants” as ones who face the same fate of being regarded “immigrants” and never expats?
          Secondly, you seem to be using terms “white” and “European” interchangeably in the article http://www.siliconafrica.com/im-not-black/ as well as in this one (though, less than in the previous article). Are they synonyms? Or is there some kind difference between “white” and “European” (the article http://www.siliconafrica.com/im-not-black/ seems to be ambigious on this matter).

          Reply
          • Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN

            Europe is a geographical place. Europeans are the people with the oldest ancestors who have lived there.

            White as a term defining Europeans is a very recent invention, and from the moment of incorporation of that new brand of identity, not all europeans were included into it, but only the north-west europeans.

            Irish were called white monkeys, and discriminated against, many southern europe countries people were considered too dark skin to be called white. but now they have been included in the white brand.

            I really don’t know about Eastern Europe. Maybe with European Union, you would be included in some time later, and enjoy the same privileges.

        • Rich

          You can’t just ‘decide’ that white is not a skin color or race but an ideology because of some prejudice agenda you have. White does refer to skin color. Whether you like it or not and no matter how much you manage to convince yourself with your bullshit rhetoric. American blacks living in countries I’ve been have all be called expats, as well as the Asians… Actually, everyone who wasn’t native born. “There were no White people in Europe before the Renaissance.” This is why no one takes you seriously. Not because they’re trying to preserve anything, but because you are stupid. Pathetic.

          Reply
  7. al gore

    what a trashy, racist article with little foundation to stand on as other comments have already destroyed it, as you said it depends on duration, africans, asians, mexicans become immigrants when they want to be transplanted there and scam and cheat the system to stay or are otherwise illegal. short term = expat (A word I dont like anywy)

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  8. PK

    I rarely comment on what I read but this article is a bag of shxxte. I could understand the economic factor as the key element distinguishing between an expat and a migrant/immigrant i.e. an expat being usually an employee sent abroad to work, representing a company of his country of origin, or an entrepreneur setting up a business abroad, however, confining the distinction to one’s ethnic background is purely racist. How would the author call Korean/Japanese/Indian/Chinese executives representing their companies all over the world? Migrants????? Immigrants??? I don’t see any difference between them and the ‘rich westerners’ the journalist is picking up on. Playing the race card has never been easer 🙁
    That is an example of bad journalism, bad and cheap…

    Reply
  9. Filipe

    You’re trying to fight your pseudo-racism with racism. Good job uncle Ben!

    Reply
  10. maiko

    Sorry, but I really can’t relate to that.
    If you just want to publish a pseudo-hate-speech against white expats then just call it by name. In every country I lived in the people who were seeking citizenship and stay for good are immigrants, people who come for a temporary employment are expats, regardless from which country or continent.

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  11. Bob Evans

    What a load of nonsense. An immigrant, regardless of race or colour is someone who is trying to move permanently (migrate) to another country. An expatriate, regardless of race or colour is someone who is temporarily (sometimes for many years) working in another country but with the intention of eventually returning to their homeland.

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  12. Romeo Carabelli

    Hi, I'm a white emigrant – or immigrant, if you read from my living coutry. I was thinking that the word "expat" is used for emigrates with a working contract in another country (if you are Spanish working in Germany for a Russian company, you are an expat, If you are Spanish working in Germany for a German company, your are an emigrant in Spain and an immigrant in Germany). Answering to Bob Evans, for the Italian Law, you are emigrants if you ask to be resident abroad, one month or all your life. By, have a good night.

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  13. Just Larissa

    That isn't true all whites who are living abroad consider themselves don't be expects, there are hardly any British or American companies to be working for In the first place in Russia yet the biggest group of foreigners (over 6000 members) is called Moscow expats… Although the Filipinos working for the same companies are called immigrants

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  14. Arwel Belushi

    Really interesting article. I don´t think that the white immigrants/expats are expressing any kind of belief in their superiority when they describe themselves as expats but the terminology is more than likely a hangover from the days of colonialism and should definitely be questioned by articles such as this one. It was, however, a shame that the article was so poorly written. Hire a proofreader!

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  15. Sheugnet Christie Bezuidenhout

    An Expat is someone working abroad with the intention of going back to their birth place. An immigrant is someone who intends to make the new country their home. For heavens sake, if you're going to slate anyone – get your facts right. Why does everything have to become a racial issue?

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  16. Henry Bruges

    For how long?? I know many people who lives in USA and want to come back some day to live again here in their origin countries… are they called expats? maybe not

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  17. Jean-Baptiste Brelière

    "White people want to differentiate themselves and get their superiority recognized in using words like expats, and many other things" I am a white immigrant (and I have always considered myself as such), I have never felt any superior to my Chinese, Thai, Indian, South African, Ghanian co-workers (and friends) who are also immigrants, who, unlike you, have never accused me of feeling superior to them because i was born with a certain type of skin colour. Yet, Mr Koutonin, by assuming that all "whites" (what's a "white" person by the way? Most of my Asian friends are even "whiter" than I am, should we include them in this "white" category you are referring to in your article?) behave in a specific way, you are being racist. Yes, Mr Koutonin, you are a racist.

    Reply
    • MandumeYaNdemufayoPatriot

      To all of you whites and negropeans who call the writer of this article “racist”, you don’t know what you are talking about. Racism is an ECONOMIC INSTITUTIONALIZED method of oppression. It is about keeping economical opportunities within a certain group. If you control the economy, you control everything. Many of you idiots confuse racism with bigotry, those are two ENTIRELY different entities. To be racist, you need to belong to a group who has the ECONOMIC power to subjugate other groups, Africans (yet) do NOT have that collective POWER.

      Stop moaning about the mythical “race card” (who created it anyways? It surely wasn’t the Africans) and making unsubstantiated claims about “racism” when you don’t even know how racism operates in the first place.

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      • Komi

        No. Strictly no. Racism, by the origin of the word, is a term for whatsoever judgment about people that is taken by any of their exterior features. In Sociology, you have this debate about the origin of racism, and we often see it in economic battles, where the privileged group can “racify” the other one – and it needn’t be due to skin colour, either. However, carrying negative judgment about people because of the colour of their skin, or generalizing negative facts about members of an ethnic group, is racism. If someone in the street insults me because I’m black, he’s being racist, even though I might be more privileged than he is. If I start believing that all these “whites” around me are like that, I am racist. To put it in a nutshell: don’t mistake technical terms from a specific current of social science for compulsory use of language. Oh – and please don’t victimize Africans like that, there’s more ethnic racism in Africa than we can possibly imagine. Politics by ethnic group is nothing very European really.

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    • Neil

      no Asiatic people are white and they are proud of who they are.

      Reply
  18. Oliver Richmond

    Good piece: similar to the word 'field' loved by development workers, researchers, etc, as in field mission, fieldwork, going to the field etc. Everywhere outside of the Global north is the field, where one can experiment, regardless of what is actually there (ie not many actual fields but diverse societies).

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  19. Violet Barasa

    Really Sheugnet?? And from where did you get that? So, a white 'expat' i know has decided not to return to his country (UK). Is he an immigrant now? Not sure your argument holds any salt am afraid…

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  20. Victor

    “White people want to differentiate themselves and get their superiority recognized in using words like expats, and many other things” I am a white immigrant (and I have always considered myself as such), I have never felt any superior to my Chinese, Thai, Indian, South African, Ghanian co-workers (and friends) who are also immigrants, and whow, unlike you, have never accused me of feeling superior to them because i was born with a certain type of skin colour. Mr Koutonin, by assuming that all “whites” (what’s a “white” person by the way? Most of my Asian friends are even “whiter” than I am, should we include them in this “white” category you are referring to in your article?) behave in a specific way, you are being racist.

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  21. Victor

    “White people want to differentiate themselves and get their superiority recognized in using words like expats, and many other things” I am a white immigrant (and I have always considered myself as such), I have never felt any superior to my Chinese, Thai, Indian, South African, Ghanian co-workers (and friends) who are also immigrants, and whom, unlike you, have never accused me of feeling superior to them because i was born with a certain type of skin colour. Mr Koutonin, by assuming that all “whites” (what’s a “white” person by the way? Most of my Asian friends are even “whiter” than I am, should we include them in this “white” category you are referring to in your article?) behave in a specific way, you are being racist.

    Reply
  22. Kajuju Guantai

    You've made the assumption that non-white workers even the "highly skilled immigrant black" worker who was quoted has no plans to return to his home country. Where did you glean that?

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  23. Janina

    Sorry Roohi, but I am an ex-pat, through and through! I am white and British and will always be. You’re barking up the wrong tree here! I’m moving back to the UK next month where I will be proud to be an ex-pat returned to my homeland!

    Reply
  24. Eric Kraus

    Actually, you described Immigrants and Migrants. Most expats I've read of and met (I live in Japan) have no actual intention of ever "going back". They, however, also have no intention of fully becoming japanese, either. People maintaining their national identity while living in another country for an unknown or extended period of time. These three words have very different, very useful meanings, and the article's author really seems to miss that entirely.

    Also, in Japan, all three terms are usually used for anyone they actually apply to. Indians and Pakistanis are often expats, US and Australian english teachers are migrants, and chinese are often marrying in to become immigrants. I mean, really.

    Reply
    • Neil

      actually white people are illegal terrorists in Australia, same as in new zealand ,south Africa,belize ,diego garcia,malvinas,greenland America, and Kanata those are not whitelands.

      Reply
  25. Luca Vianelli

    Expat is strictly referred that a company – usually multinationals and large corporations – are offering too their employees an overseas position inside the organization. In order to convince then to leave their life and status they offer a package for the expatriation, usually salary increase, salary allowance, medical insurance, return flight tickets, international. Schools fees for the children etc. Etc. Usually those companies have a dedicated section of the HOUR dept that takes care of such employees to whom these expat packages and incentives are offered, including the grant that when the term abroad will be over the expat will be probably promoted to a better paid position in his home country. This is the origin of the word when to travel abroad was for few and linked to a full of benefit working contract. This contract practice dose not have a skin color. Things are changed later and this word has been abused and generalized and confused with other words and process complexly different. I think Mr. Mawuna and his provocative article do not have any sense. Luca

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  26. Juliet

    I do not agree. The concept of expat is about class, not race. An Indian engineer coming to Europe to work in a multinational company is an expat. Poor Italians migrating to the US at the beginning of the XX century were migrants (as well as Irish, Polish, etc). The concept of expat (from French expatrié) comes I think from post-colonial relations: it referred very much to technical assistants and cooperants sent by former colonial powers in Africa to support the “development” of newly independent states.

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  27. Ward Ta

    I agree with some of the comments here. This is total bullshit. Right now i'm an expat in Africa and the day that i'm starting to settle I'll become an immigrant. My Cameroonian friend who works for ILO in Geneva is an immigrant cus he got a house there (and is planning to settle in Switzerland), whilst a Ugandan friend who worked a few years for Unesco in Paris, has never been more than an expat. People immediately assume that every white in Africa is an ignorant expat (simply cus few whites actually wanna settle here), whilst they immediately assume that every african in europe/US wants to stay (which is what many Africans do when they move there). Personally i'll be happy if i get to become an immigrant in africa one day, but i'm afraid that many people will simply continue to c me as an expat.

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  28. Lon

    Good point for discussion. However even if it’s true, what will it change if we use another word. The language is reflection of the reality, not the other way around.

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  29. Sarah Atieno Jowi

    when expats decide to remain at the host country they are localized and can now be considered part of the local immigrant community and they no longer receive the same benefits accorded to an expat.

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  30. Sarah Atieno Jowi

    Violet Barasa , If an expat decides not to return to their home country their work visa will be void and they will have to apply for a resident visa which will make them an ordinary immigrant, this is termed as localization. At that point the person will loose all expat benefits and will be subject to local pay etc just like the natives of that country. Expats, Inpats and third country nationals are all people who work in a host country on a short or long term assignment

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  31. David Kersten

    Sarah Atieno Jowi Not necessarily. Different countries have different rules. I'm technically an expat, being white and living abroad in Singapore but I am here as what is known as a Permanent Resident, which doesn't require that I hold a visa, only that I reapply for PR every few years or so. I know 'expats' who have been here for more than 20 years now. Expats are simply white westerners who haven't given up their citizenship or taken on another.

    btw, I agree with Koutonin. I've always been uncomfortable with the expat label because of its colonial and therefore racist undertone. I much prefer PR, or Permanent Resident, and that's what I say I am when I'm asked.

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  32. David Kersten

    What a silly reductionist argument this is. You completely disregard the last several centuries of European imperialism, (have you looked at your name?), and childishly fixated on pigmentation instead shows that you choose, yes, choose, not to understand that racism is a social construct designed to oppress one kind of people while elevating another to a special kind of privilege – white privilege. Your choice in doing that is also your white privilege.

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  33. Alex Rum

    I am a white British woman living in Holland, and the reason why I would never call myself an 'immigrant' is an attempt to acknowledge the differing power accorded to me, a white European and say, an Algerian immigrant who faces numerous restrictions to his/her movements as well as endless social and legal discrimination. I am an 'expat' because I can come here without question, stay for as long as I like, speak my own language widely without judgment, benefit from their social system, acquire a job and am viewed as welcome. I would feel a little ridiculous calling myself an immigrant, in this context! Hmm… Any thoughts? Maybe I should just start calling everyone expats, and see if that solves the dilemma? Anyway, great article!

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  34. Bradley Goodchild

    Very interesting and informative but i do think there are certain criteria that has been overlooked here for a start… TIME !…. yes time going back a few hundred years to when this word EXPAT was first in frequent and popular use it was really only directed at the English because they were some of the first western white people to travel to other country’s WHY ? well for a start they were the only ones who could afford to travel and second they were the only ones who had the means to travel or a purpose and that being the expansion of an Empire

    To add to this was their reason to go live in another land and that was most often than not they were actually still within their own country’s boundary as it were REMEMBER England had taken over a lot of the world and called it the British commonwealth ( or Empire ) so there was a lot of English in India , Australia America etc etc , they were there running the intrest’s of the Monarchy and were still actually still in their own country albeit another continent and intending to return after their work had been completed .
    I think the word EXPAT has taken on many different connotations over the years but i don’t think it ever really has had a racist intent until these very modern times where there are many who want some revenge for many years of oppression an look for anything they can turn back upon their nemisis !

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    • Jackson

      This gives us a real picture of how the people from the so called “global north” are living and leading a double standard in the so called “global south” They talk about proper pay, standard health insurance, workers rights, social welfare benefits, etc, and these are meant for certain categories of people but not everyone. The global south does not matter, suffering or death is not their concern and it is a place for crude extraction and research sample but purification is the bussiness of the global north.Big weapons produced in the global north but the shooting ground is in the global south. An expat’s monthly salary is equivalent to the total of the salaries of 10 local staff…Where is equality? where is justice?

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  35. Jean-Baptiste Brelière

    David Kersten, I am very much aware of the destructive consequences of 500 years of European colonisation, but that's not the point of this article, nor is it of the quote I copy pasted in my previous post. In his article, the author only (and explicitly) refers to a specific type of skin colour and makes no reference whatsoever to the sociological, economical and political mechanisms that led to a specific type of oppression, namely – white privilege (and if you see such relation being established in the article of Mr Koutonin, I would assume we didn't the same article). Therefore, by only referring to skin pigmentation, and by attributing specific behaviours or disabilities to the individuals possessing this skin pigmentation, he is being racist. As for your question regarding my name, the answer is yes, I do look at it quite often. Have you looked at yours, Mr Kersten?

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  36. Colin Daniel

    So what do you call the guys who have settled in Bermuda, Cayman and Barbados for 15 – 20 yrs who have brought property and have no intention of returning, yet they refer to themselves as expats. Being there done that so I know what I speak off.

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  37. Anna Smirnov

    maybe use your privilege to amplify the voices and struggles of those that don't enjoy the same ones?

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  38. The European Mama

    The two words mean the same thing with these differences: an immigrant usually stays in the country while an expat can but doesn't have to. 2) expat is considered privileged while immigrants mostly aren't. And I disagree with the idea that only white European people can be expats: I am Polish and my people are certainly considered immigrants (with all the associations it invokes) and so are Rumanians, Russians etc when they come to work in Western Europe They are considered immigrants and thus worse.I usually use the word expat to refer to someone who lives abroad. I don't care why they do so and what they do, just that they live abroad. The word expat comes from ex patriate (thus someone who lives outside of their home country). The word immigrant means someone who came to a new country. They both pretty much say the same thing.

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  39. Nanna

    As a white “expat” this had never occurred to me before – because as you mentioned, I’m entrenched in this system too and while I actively try to be aware of my privilege I had never made this connection. It’s so obvious, and yet I had genuinely never realised it.

    So thank you for your article. You’ve woken me up to the inherent racism of this term and I will keep this in mind and share it when I see people use the term going forward.

    Unlike some of the commenters here, I don’t believe that reverse racism is possible and you have every right to be angry when you highlight something that isn’t fair. Try not to take their comments to heart. While you may piss some off, you also reach people others and help educate them.

    Anyway, thanks again and all the best.

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  40. Bull Winkle

    This is a lie. I am a black American & I'm often referred to as an expat. Secondly, the reason I'm not called an immigrant is because I did not emigrate to this country. I am here temporarily, not for vacation but for extended work. The author is extrapolating his experience on others, makes false assumptions & doesn't even know the difference in an expat and an immigrant.

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  41. Jodi Owen

    I arrived in the UK as an 'expat' and wondered what the difference was between that term and immigrant. From my understanding, 'expat' is typically used when a person is being sponsered by a company/organisation for a fixed-term work assignment in another country. I've since transitioned into the 'immigrant' status as I'm no longer being sponsored by that company. However, in my opinion, 'ex patria' describes BOTH situations equally. Clearly Mr Koutonin, dislikes the connotation associated with expat. Yeah, you could follow his advice and call anyone living/working in another country an 'immigrant' OR you could call anyone living/working in another country an 'expatriate'. I believe there is always a surefire way to end the unfair use of labels between classes/races/etc., and that is to take the words and use them in a way that challenges the status quo; much like the 'N' word has been appropriated and partially reappropriated by the hip-hop community to mean 'friend'. If white westerners are using terms to diferentiate themselves as 'superior', the power of social media can change that in a very short period of time. Mr Koutonin, as a world peace activist dedicated to empowering people, how better to empower than to take a word and change its use to represent ALL people?

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  42. Bull Winkle

    Gotta love how he speaks for all blacks. As a black American working abroad, I'm referred to as an expat all the time. Some blacks love to look for ways to be victims. I"ll go as far as to say many blacks. I see people making vids, "What it's like to be black in…" They only know what it's like to be themselves.

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  43. Kerry Griffin

    Okay get this. An expat is a person who goes from her/his country to some other nation for a short term (1-5 years) assignment and then returns to his/her home nation. An immigrant is a person who leaves her/his home nation to another country forever. Simple. The author obviously has some problem with white people because the biggest supplier of expats is the Philippines. Neither white nor black. What box do they fit into Mawuna Remarque ?

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  44. Henry Bruges

    It is curious, but also good, how many people here has turned the discussion into the difference between getting citizenship or not as the point to be called immigrant or "expat"… thanks for getting to the point, i see that the author did not go beyond the point and the article is short, because this shows again that many people is making use of their advantages and are also comfortable with the status quo. This discussions are made to reflect on, to examine if what we consider as normal or proper, does it really is, and this is why: what you call expat do not get citizenship because they dont need it, in the same way, people who moves to wealthier countries has to get nationality because they NEED to reach the same levels of rights, they need health, education, free movilization, access to social security and so on etc… it is not because they love the colors of the flags, it is not because they want to be absorbed as locals, they have a set of needs to accomplish as we all here also need, no matter where we are or where we were born.

    How would you feel if some day you can not enter to a country because you are not "wealth enough"? how would that "expats" feel if they could not get a regular job in their destinations? So the difference exist, but we can not deny it and say that this is the way it should be, i know that we are not going to change anything, i know that our postings here will not make any difference and also know that calling them everybody as the same word will not change the reality.

    Read the post down here of the british woman with the brazilian flag avatar (Alex Rum), she is very clear, she can move, she is not hurting any system and I bet she is a normal (not poor not rich) person who struggles as all we do to accomplish all her needs. So I would ask again to all of you… is it ok to think that some people DESERVES some privileges and some others DO NOT, just based on where did we born? think as if you were on the opposite side.

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  45. J.d. Ward

    Just when I think North America can't get any more ridiculous. Thanks for writing this.

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  46. Federico Brandi

    As an immigrant I say standing ovation for you!
    I find stupid the white guys feeling offended here, since this division between white people and the rest of the world is not about the single person but about a five centuries old social asset.
    Not recognising many of the white privileges we have – and few minor issues – is plainly blind.

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  47. Julian Ajello

    I'm an expat in Vietnam, along with black expats, white expats, Indian expats, etc. We're all referred to as expats here.

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  48. Graeme Pietersz

    In theory expat and immigrant are overlapping categories (someon who has moved permanently abroad but retains their citizenship is an exapt), but in practice the usage is as described. In the UK British people who have lived in Asia for decades are referred to as expats. Permanence is definitely not what distinguishes the categories as we do not talk about "illegal expats" (again, in the UK, illegal entry usually rules out remaining permanently)>

    Julain, you are correct about that usage. It is partly where you are: the fact is that if the "Indian expats" moved from Vietnam to a western country, people in that country would refer to them as immigrants, especially if they are not in a professional jobs (the categorisation is depends on a mix of ethnicity and class)>

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  49. Otis Galloway

    Because it is.

    Once again, a White person feels the need to tell others what to say and think.

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  50. Julian Ajello

    As I see it, an expat chooses to live outside the country of their birth without relinquishing citizenship, with or without the intent of returning home one day, as I have done.

    An immigrant pulls up stakes and leaves their home country to find a new home somewhere and become part of a new society, as my grandfathers did when they left Italy.

    My grandfathers and I have the same skin tones, more or less, yet they were clearly immigrants and I am clearly an expat. Making this distinction neither denigrates them or implies that I think myself better than they were. They were immigrants to America and very proud that they assimilated and became Americans.

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  51. Naoki Watanabe

    Expat is NOT a racist term and using "immigrant" is not offensive in ANY way! I say this as an expat who's lived in Michigan and Indiana for 11 years. I always called myself an expatriate or an expat and NEVER called myself an immigrant as I moved there at a young age and always knew that I'd return to Japan in the future. I actually considered being called an immigrant to be annoying since I don't have American citizenship and didn't consider myself American (though I do consider myself Michigander) and wasn't seeking permanent residency.
    Whoever wrote this article is an idiot for just assuming "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." even though I, an Asian, considered myself (and was usually referred to as), an expatriate. Furthermore, I had several friends in my school who were referred to as "immigrant" and the reason for that is simply because they'd MOVED to Michigan and had permanent residency. One of those friends was a Brit and another one was Bulgarian and this proves Europeans are also called "immigrant".
    The guy who wrote this article even wrote this bullshit: "In fact, saying you are expat means you subscribe to racism because “expat” is of a White supremacist vocabulary invented to differentiate White people abroad from other races also living abroad." If it's White supremacy, than why do I know White people who aren't called that, and why is an Asian (me) called that? This guy is a complete retard and is obviously a racist himself who wants to attack White people! This is clear from his concluding lines:
    "Most White people are in denial of the racist system they enjoy. And why not?" (He's obviously attacking White people and believing they're automatically superior when I can name several instances of Hungarians suffering unjust racism and discrimination from the same supposedly racist system.)
    "And yet our responsibility is to deny them these privileges, directly related to an outdated supremacist ideology, and a mindset that many people still want to keep active in the world." (What does he mean by "our"? Does he mean non-Whites? I'm non-White and I have no problem with White people. And if there's any supremacist ideology, why do Slavs continue to face discrimination and xenophobia everywhere outside Slavic Europe?)
    "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!" (They should only be called immigrants if they really ARE immigrants! As in, intending to stay in the African country they're in!)
    "The political deconstruction of this outdated worldview work must continue!" (There's nothing outdated about this view of calling someone who wants become a permanent resident an immigrant and someone who intends to return to their birth country an expat!)

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  52. Naoki Watanabe

    David Kersten, there is no "White Privilege" in Jean-Baptiste's comment and there is no White Supremacy. I can name several instances of Russians being mistreated in non-White countries. Also, I lived in the USA for 11 years and I was usually called an expat and I was never treated as inferior at all. And I'm Asian and was treated the same as my White friends and I lived in a place that was 95% White. And if you're going to talk about European Imperialism, let's not forget that Hungarians, Finns, Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Cornish, Basques, Sorbs, Belarusians, Georgians, Kalmyks, and many other "White" people suffered TREMENDOUSLY from it. They've suffered oppression just as much or in many cases worse than non-Whites.

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  53. Matthew Keenan

    This is absolute tosh, I have heard the word immigrant to describe white European people that have come to another country to work on a regular basis. For example Polish immigrants that have chosen to live and work within the UK. This article is nit picking, and making a mountain out of a molehill on a huge scale. The choice of noun shouldn't make a difference, articles like this only stoke the fire that creates a totally unnecessary social stigma around the word immigrant.

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  54. Ricky Daniels

    Im in Expat, not an immigrant. Why? Because I have no intention to stay in this particular country abroad.

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  55. Kenneth Cheung

    i'm a chinese expat in china originally from HK but call UK home with a UK passport…how would that work? -sorry but expat is a multi-national term for anyone moving to any country for the sole purpose of work (typically via a posting agreed by a company) if you're on a working visa, i would say you're an expat regardless of where you're from. as to what point a person goes from being an expat to an immigrant – i would say that is the point at which they either gain the nationality/residency of their adopted country, and/or revoke their nationality/residency of country of origin. but what do i know.

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  56. Kenneth Cheung

    Violet Barasa – So, a white 'expat' i know has decided not to return to his country (UK). Is he an immigrant now? YES, he is an immigrant.

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  57. Marta Schaferova

    INteresting! I thought that an expat was a person working in a country – without that country's passport. and an immigrant a person who moved to that country and got that country's nationality/passport?
    So for that matter I thought I cannot call my self an immigrant (living in the Netherlands but am from the Czech republic – with Czech passport).

    Though I agree, an expat definitely has a connotation of a highly educated / high salary person living in a foreign country (thus without that coutry's passport). I think I link it more with 'class' than colour here in the Netherlands.

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  58. John Bocskay

    It's not really that simple. I've lived in Korea now 16 years and at no time did I decide I would never go back to the States – I just sort of decided to stay one more year, one more year, etc. – and there are a lot of people like me – all "expats" – who don't set out to live their lives out somewhere else but effectively that's what ends up happening. Conversely, in the States I also worked with a lot of "immigrants" from South and Central America who planned to retire in their home countries after banking enough to set themselves up, some of whom have surely done so by now.

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  59. Johnny Kain

    I am really sorry, but you coming up with this "not all white people"-stuff, totally neglecting that the system of white supremacy still works in your favor makes you clearly a part of the problem.

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  60. Johnny Kain

    So you acknowledge your privilege and by acknowledging that privilege you chose a term for you as holder of privilege and a different term for somebody who does not hold that privilege.

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  61. Johnny Kain

    I am an immigrant myself, not necessarily with the intention to stay forever but I am hired at a company in the host country, not send from a company in my "home country". Although, I am clearly an immigrant, people refer to me as expat because I don't have to clean homes to survive. The term has a race and a class implication. The difference is that "expats" are never required to integrate into the society of the host country, while an immigrant clearly is.

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  62. sam

    What a stupid comment from the Author whoI have not researched nor intend to. Having operated out of the UK for the last 20 + year it is quite obvious that African , Asian, Arab or whatever! are not immigrants they are like the rest of us : Expats and are called so !! surely you don’t make a living from this crap do you ?Please don’t answer I wont be reading but do try please and contribute some useful information instead of spouting total garbage comments for no reason

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  63. Randall Connoly

    This article doesn’t seem to be very well researched. Expat communities are made of many nationalities. I live in Argentina and the expats are American, Colombian, Brazilian, Nigerian, Korean, Chinese, Canadian, Indian, etc. An Expat is someone ( regardless of race or nationality) who is living in a foreign country and working for a company ( usually multi-national) or institution such as an embassy or international school. In most cases ex-pats were sent to another country by said company or embassy and in some cases don’t have a choice as to where they are sent. They stay for a few years and then return to their home country. They have property, assets, identification, banking etc. in their home country….an immigrant is a person who has moved to another country and wishes to establish roots and remain in that country for the remainder of their career, usually applying for citizenship and making a permanent home their. It really just sounds like you don’t like white people.

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  64. Jean-Baptiste Brelière

    Johnny Kain , who said that there isn't a "white supremacy" problem? Give me an example taken from the messages that myself or Ms Watanabe have written, that denies "white supremacy"? How come you and David Kersten are having such a hard admitting that, like the author of this article, anyone can be racist, regardless of their skin colour? And how on earth saying that the author of this article is a racist – because he is, the quote I have copy pasted is a pretty clear example of it – is being a supporter of white supremacy. Please give us a slightly more elaborate answer than your passive aggressive comments, because so far you both accused us of supported white supremacy with no valid examples, which technically qualifies as false accusation.

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  65. Jean-Baptiste Brelière

    Woops, sorry for the typo Mr Ken Watanabe! I'll edit my message straight away!

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  66. Emily Hook

    Yup. I have said this more than a few times here in Japan, I tend to see it as a primarily American conceit in addition to being a white one because most Americans living abroad in Japan permanently or semi-permanently seem to use the word no matter their color or race.

    The local assumption seems to be that – unless a person is specifically seeking to naturalize and become a citizen – they are an expat rather than an immigrant. It seems to be thought that immigrants naturalize and expats simply acquire permanent residence or something. While there might be very real differences in meaning on paper – those differences do not match up with the very real social difference at work in how the two words are used.

    As a Romani living abroad, the word 'expat' just rubs me weird in both cases.

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  67. Violet Barasa

    …whilst they immediately assume that every african in europe/US wants to stay (which is what many Africans do when they move there)… Another homogenizing ASSUMPTION from a point of white privilege there, Mr Ward! NO one would EVER want to leave their birth countries and move permanently to a totally new country with all the attendant cultural shocks, identities etc without reason. Give me my beautiful country Kenya anytime! Living in UK for nearly a decade did little to wet my appetite to emigrate there, I am back home so stop your simplistic generalizations about Africans wanting to leave their countries!
    On the other hand, if your countries use their military might to invade and ravage other people's countries in the quest for oil, gold and diamonds etc ( War in Iraq, DR Congo name it), the outcome of this can only be devastating instabilities (social, political, economic, cultural) in these countries, and this will leave its people in abject want. Trying to leave their homes and come to settle in your countries is not asking too much from you is it? When entire towns schools, hospitals etc) are bombed down like it happens/ed in Lybia during the 'hunt' for Gadaffi, these children also deserve a stable education just like yours, no? You create problems in their homes, they gotta come to yours, right? Let's not 'feign' naivety here. We KNOW pretty well how to locate this argument in imperial history, or you and i wouldn't be commenting

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  68. Ward Ta

    Violet Barasa , is it really necessary to use the words "white" and "black" in everything u write? U know as well as I that many Africans in Europe/US end up staying, whilst few Europeans/Americans in Africa do so. I am a European hoping to grow old in Africa, u are an African who wud never wanna settle in Europe. I wasn't saying that people like us don't exist – just saying we are a minority. Most Europeans in Africa are expats – rushing home as soon as their kids reach secondary school – most Africans in Europe are immigrants. This is nothing more/less than an objectively verifiable statement.
    Personally i would be happy if i get to become an immigrant in Africa one day, but i'm afraid that many people will simply continue to c me as an expat. Prejudices in Africa are not more/less than in Europe. They are just different. Another aspect of this discussion is that immigrants actually have rights, whilst expats live in a judicial vacuum. Many of my immigrant friends in Europe have become local politicians. Even if i were to get nationality here one day, chances of me ever being accepted as an integral part of society are quite small. Despite all the racism in US/Europe, a large part of the population has accepted the idea that foreigners can become "one of them". I am not complaining, but I am quite sure that color/race is often more an issue in African countries than it is in Europe/US.

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  69. Duncan Smith

    What a ridiculous article. I have friends in Hong Kong of many races, and all except Chinese are referred to as expats. As for mainland Chinese they are not expats by your own definition. They are just in a different region of their own country.

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  70. Shayne Lee Brits

    Interesting article that has to be addressed. I feel the word does not have its origin in the racist suppression of people of colour. Unfortunately though, it has grown to represent racist suppression and white privilege for many people who have lived under white supremacy and even oppression. This becomes more acute especially when used in a race discriminateing context. It is out of respect for all people that language needs to evolve to what is appropriate for everyone and not only the privileged few irrespective of whether or not the racist oppressive association is intended or not.

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  71. Brunal Le Brun

    Violet Barasa : logically, if he plan not to return anymore, he should then be called an (im)migrant. yes

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  72. Violet Barasa

    Ward Ta are you sure you READ my comment?? I am not sure i have used black and white in there. I am in principle arguing against such a simplification. I would highly recommend re-reading my comment/s again particularly the last chunk of my comment above

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  73. Ward Ta

    Violet, u started yur post by sayin i was writing fr a "white privilege" perspective …

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  74. Mushood Misha Miguel

    This is flawed…

    Immigrants move somewhere with the intention to gain citizenship somewhere…my mother was an immigrant as was my father…

    As someone who has done the majority of their work in foreign countries I have never been described as an immigrant and rightly so…i have never attempted to gain citizenship wherever I have been nor intended to stay there…

    How many people come to Britain with the intention of returning to their place of origin?…if I did apply for citizenship in one of the countries i work in I am no longer an expat but an immigrant…

    However I don't completely disagree with the premise…but this isnt a white thing…its an economics thing…Poles may also be considered immigrants even if they intend to go home…this despite their white pigmentation…I have worked abroad as a British citizen in nations doing significantly worse economically than Britain is…my last place of work was Moldova…no way I would ever be considered an immigrant there unless of course I technically became one and applied for citizenship…

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  75. Myra At Tckid

    Violet Barasa ….haven't read your whole convo with Mr. Ward, so not commentin on that but this is something VERY important to acknowledge! Some assumptions are so "Default" that no one questions them anymore –>> "..whilst they immediately assume that every african in europe/US wants to stay (which is what many Africans do when they move there)… Another homogenizing ASSUMPTION from a point of white privilege there,"…

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  76. Damon Nasser Bath

    The thing is sometimes they don't, I made the mistake of referring to a British Immigrant to Egypt (he obtained Egyptian citizenship) as an Immigrant, he demanded be called expat, :/ Tbh I still don't get why.

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  77. Jinna Ziller

    at first i thought this to be true some time ago but now i disagree. this is not true at all .. i have lived as an expat (and been called one and I am as black as they come) and i am also an immigrant. there is a difference. immigrants intend to settle long term, expats are usually in the country on an expat contract and know that their time in that country will end. it is not about race. just because many expats happen to be white doesnt mean it is about race. i know expats of pretty much ever race and i will continue to call them expats because seriously that is what they are.

    i agree that migrant works are strictly speaking also expats yet they are not often called that but words evolve like that..it could be called classism yes but it is not racism.

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  78. Jinna Ziller

    you are perfectly correct!

    this was my comment on it: at first i thought this to be true some time ago but now i disagree. this is not true at all .. i have lived as an expat (and been called one and I am as black as they come) and i am also an immigrant. there is a difference. immigrants intend to settle long term, expats are usually in the country on an expat contract and know that their time in that country will end. it is not about race. just because many expats happen to be white doesnt mean it is about race. i know expats of pretty much ever race and i will continue to call them expats because seriously that is what they are.

    i agree that migrant works are strictly speaking also expats yet they are not often called that but words evolve like that..it could be called classism yes but it is not racism.

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  79. Oliver Nwachukwu

    I live in Australia where there are millions of people British "expats" who will never go back to Uk, but they are still expats, and the rest of us are immigrants regardless of the fact that we were actually recruited to come here for our different skills

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  80. Alexandrina Braun

    Not true. I have friends who have lived abroad for over a decade and they intend on staying there, and they are called expats.

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  81. Anna Drake-Ayala

    While I think there is some validity to what you're saying, I live in a country where there are plenty of mixed-race couples, cultures and a wide variety of different skin colors. I belong to a number of "ex-pat" sites and have noticed that there are a wide array of racial groups represented there. It may be entirely possible that the point you're making is not necessarily worldwide, but that there are other cultural factors that turn it into another form of racism. Here where I'm from, the term "ex-pat" might tend to attract more Americans simply because it is an English-speaking term and this country is not overall English-speaking.

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  82. Ran Dewcastle

    Judging by some of the feedback I think the message here has been lost in a vacuum of perceived prejudice… Considering the article you linked in the comments where you defined "white" as an ideology I would like to think that you don't actually believe that the inhabitants of the European continent all share a superiority complex and a racially motivated craving to subordinate. I for one hope to one day share a global identity as a human rather than forced to assume nationalities and confined within borders, but whatever I'm an idealist.

    Another reference on the subject from a uk paper article in 2011 with the same take home message (http://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2011/apr/11/mind-your-language-expat-brits). I think from the tone of it that the use of expat as a superiority complex is fading and most people probably couldn't adequately tell the difference in the meanings between it and words like migrant and immigrant anyway. It's archaic and with any joy, will simply fade into obscurity.

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  83. Mtm Harriette

    The writer is not well informed at all and appears to have a massive chip on his shoulder as well as being racist. What racist supremacy did the self-styled Anglophones in Switzerland represent: was it that the Swiss too blonde and blue eyed for us? Their economy, and, to many their policial system, was superior. The black British and Americans were seen as equal ex pats. Overall, ex pats are temporarily working in a foreign country (or their families) and are generally well off or professionals; guest workers are uneducated short term labourers or domestics; immigrants have moved with the intention of permanently settling or taking on citizenship. The big difference to me is about necessity: an ex pat can pick up and leave if he so wishes but a guest worker or migrant for reasons of poverty or other dire circumstances is at the mercy of the host country.

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  84. Emp Irian

    I think the author of the article is clearly either compensating for an inferiority complex or genuinely has a very poor understanding of the word "EXPAT" as used in modern day English. The fact that he begins by anchoring his article on Wikipedia’s definition of the term, also shows that he is either is not aware, or does not want to acknowledge that Wikipedia is neither an actual dictionary, nor an actual encyclopedia, but rather a collection of entries made by regular people without any pre-requisite qualifications.

    In everyday usage, I think the correct meaning of the word “Expat” clearly hinges on the employment/economic status of the individual.

    Foreign investors, white-collar employees and (some) highly skilled blue-collar employees tend to be referred to as "EXPATS". They move to a specific country to fill a specific post (typically offered in advance) or to start a specific business and not because they just decide to up and move to another country without a job, without a place to live and without a legal right to live and/or work there.

    On the other hand those that do decide to just pick up and move, without the financial means to support themselves, without a work contract, without a work visa, working "under the table" and possibly paying no taxes are often referred to as MIGRANTS.

    Migrants can be ILLEGAL MIGRANTS (without a legal right to live and work in the host country), or Legal Migrants (as in the case of those that do have the right to be in the country, but not necessarily the right to work). Those LEGAL MIGRANTS who intend to establish permanent residency and a life in the host country are referred to as IMMIGRANTS in their adoptive country (and as EMIGRANTS in their native countries).

    Illegal Migrants tend to be a drain on the local resources without contributing into the system, and instead often taking advantage of benefits intended for the local tax payers and citizenry (such as the case of the Philippine servants in HK).

    Expats on the other hand, do pay taxes and contribute into the system, while tending to not take advantage of local government and social benefits. (One perfect example is that in Ghana, expats do pay into the NHIL and Social Security system, but do not benefit from either.)

    Expats are allowed to reside in the host country, usually for only a specific length of time (such as 1 or 2 or 3 years, depending on their employment contract) and are typically only allowed to work for one specific company.

    Immigrants, like expats, do pay into the system, but unlike expats, they enjoy all the same benefits as the local citizenry (with the possible exception of voting, until such time as they become citizens). Also, unlike expats, immigrants are not limited to one specific job or one specific company. They can permanently reside in the host country and are free to seek employment from any company. Unlike expats, immigrants also benefit from social security and socialized medicine (if available in the host country).

    One very important distinction between EXPATS and IMMIGRANTS is that expats are in a foreign country temporarily (and intend to return to their country of residence when their contract/project is finished), while immigrants do not intend to return to their homeland and typically seek citizenship or legal alien status in the host country. (I realize that the Wikipedia definition says otherwise, but it is wrong.) At the point at which an EXPAT decides to seek permanent residency status in the host country, said expat becomes an IMMIGRANT (but not before).

    As a white person, born European (and proud of it), turned American IMMIGRANT (and proud of it), who lived as an EXPAT in Ghana (and proud of it) for almost 10 years before returning home to the US, I am deeply offended by this “article”. The author seeks to attribute a perceived moral/social value to everyday words such as EXPAT and IMMIGRANT. In reality neither of these words have an either intrinsically good or bad meaning, an intrinsically superior or inferior meaning (contrary to the author’s efforts to insinuate otherwise).

    The author further attempts to mislead by conveniently omitting to include the full title of the article, which is “In Hong Kong, Just Who Is an Expat, Anyway?”, thus completely erasing all trace that the article specifically refers to some oddities of the formally British city.

    This is quite relevant since the word Expat is in fact a British word (originally used IN Britain to refer to those that went to work or live OUTSIDE the country) and not a “White Western Word” used to assert superiority over other races while living abroad, as this deeply disturbed (and unfortunately largely ignorant on the subject matter) author implies.

    According to Mr. Koutonin, however, both Expat and Immigrant are deeply divisive “racist” terms, as the word “expat” would never be used to describe an African person.

    No one in their right mind would refer to any African, Asian, European or Hispanic managers, business consultants, or specialized experts TEMPORARILY moving to another country (African, Asian, European or American) because their job demands it, as “immigrants”. Not if their intentions were to leave the host country at the end of their assignment.

    According to the author, however, the term "immigrant" is used to describe non-Europeans only. Hmmm… really? So I guess next time I fly to Togo I don’t need to go through “Immigration” because I’m white. Thanks for letting me know. Can I quote this blog if the immigration officers try to stop me?

    In fact, to me, this entire “article” reads more like a poorly disguised attempt to denigrate “Whites” in general, by irrationally attributing a derogatory meaning to the word IMMIGRANT and an elitist meaning to the word EXPAT. A completely unwarranted attack on white people at large, by an African blogger who, judging from the sum of his posts on this website, has some serious racial issues.

    My advice to you folks, is not to believe everything you read on the internet. Contrary to Mr. Koutonin’s personal beliefs, white people are just people. Nothing more, nothing less. Some are good, some are bad. Some work hard, others are lazy. Some hear of people suffering and rush to their help, others don’t. Same as all other people.

    As for myself, after giving up 10 years out of my life to try and help others less fortunate than myself, I feel saddened and a little polluted for having read this racist garbage (on a purported business website no less).

    As long as individuals like Mr. Koutonin exist, be they black or be they white, and are given a forum to spread their poison, there is unfortunately little chance of the “human race” moving forward together, and the perpetual segregation of "black" vs. "white" continues to propagate to future generations, to the detriment of all.

    Good luck to you Mr. Koutonin, I hope you manage to overcome your prejudices and become a properly functioning member of society at large, rather seeking cheap publicity by being a divisive voice of false racial discrimination.

    (I apologise to all the readers of this if my spelling and grammar are not always correct. English is not my native language.)

    Reply
    • L.L

      I’m glad you’re proud to be white. Good luck until one day you go to a parallel world when the whites (or pinks are more suitable?) are being treated like other non-white (love this term) people are treated, or perhaps just wait another hundred or two hundred years. I guess what happens here is that it is very difficult for a person to see from other perspectives, or to imagine the possibility of something that one hasn’t experienced.

      Reply
  85. Mtm Harriette

    Violet Barasa The following is just plain wrong "NO one would EVER want to leave their birth countries and move permanently to a totally new country with all the attendant cultural shocks, identities etc without reason." I know lots who have done so when they have had every opportunity at home – they like the change or their sense of adventure. If you haven't met any like that, then just pick up a few books written by some.

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  86. Brian McElligott

    Playing the race card distracts from the distinction between expat and immigrant. An expat moves to a country to work due to skills they have, not because they are white. Expat assignments are time limited with an expectation if returning to the home country. My employment status as an expat has far different access to state services or taxes than immigrants do. The reason there is a different word to describe the circumstance is evident. Sadly, the article seemed like a convenient opportunity to tell the world little about the expat experience and more about the author's issues with white people.

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  87. Tom Snider

    I was always under the apprehension that an expat was somebody who retained citizenship of their original country while choosing to live, probably permanently, in another country entirely.

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  88. Laura Lee Jones

    Wow. New point of view I hadn't considered before. The tone of the article seems a bit self-consciously racist. Everyone where I live refers to themselves as an expat (more polite) or gringo (less polite) regardless of their race. I've an expat friend who is black. She's not an "immigrant" she's an expat like everyone else. (Shrugs.) I've also friends who are native to this country who lived in Europe for awhile – some as long as 14 years – before returning to their home country. I've never thought of them as immigrants even if their skin is several shades darker than mine. They were expats who are once again living in their native countries.

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  89. Kirsty Rice

    You have to emigrate to be an immigrant. Check out any expat facebook page and you'll see a very faces from many different counties. I think you've got it wrong.

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  90. Susie Telford

    I agree with Kirsty Rice on this one. Expats keep their passports and move on. If they stay then they emigrate and become immigrants. Most Expats have no intention of staying and don't want to either!

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  91. Evelyn Simpson

    Based on my experience of living in Brussels for 5 years as an expat (I had no intention of making my stay a permanent one), this article is totally off base. Whilst there, I met other expats from countries all over the world who were there as corporate, military and diplomatic assignees. At my children's international school, there were students from 70 countries with faces of every shade. They were almost all there temporarily. The thought of themselves and were thought of by others as expats. Same in Hong Kong, Zurich & Shanghai (just a bit less diverse)

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  92. JTG

    Is a diplomat an expat or immigrant? If not the former than there are certainly some serious degrees of difference between certain immigrants (e.g. some have diplomatic immunity, some don’t have to pay taxes, some may be allowed to use the public health system while others may not, some may be victims of racism, xenophobia or hate crimes and other not). Expat is NOT inherently racist, it simply implies that the “immigrant” enjoys a greater share of rights than other “immigrants.”

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  93. Amado Mìodrăg

    I worked in Mainland China for most of the last decade (since September 2005). There was no way I could consider myself an immigrant, as the government made sure I would not have the comfort of feeling like I immigrated. I had to undergo medical tests (including AIDS and TBC tests) every year and to have my employment contract signed and visa applied for year after year.

    Had I spent 10 years in most restrictive Western countries — like Switzerland and what not — I could apply for permanent residence and in many of them for citizenship, and that would have been a TRUE immigration. But not so in China. And I wouldn't have minded adding Chinese citizenship/passport to the three I already have.

    So don't tell me I was privileged in being an expat. I was discriminated agianst, just like any other expat (Caucasian, African, or indeed East and South-East Asian) in China.

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  94. Jessica Taylor

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a white woman who grew up in Pakistan for over twelve years (and my family was there for 15-20+), we were always referred to as "ex-pats"- I never questioned this term as a child. As an adult, I work in Arizona, where the "immigration debate" is constant. I found myself starting to think about my own childhood, where I lived in another country for over a decade, never assimilating, never learning the language- and this was always excused and even encouraged- because I was an "ex pat." In fact, my father held a very high social status and was frequently featured in newspapers, and other societal publications. So, about a year ago, I found myself quite perplexed as I started to understand the privilege I held because of my skin color and nationality and the double standard for non-white Anglo/Europeans that I have witnessed in the United States (where my mother is from) and in Europe (where my father is from).

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  95. Scotty Dinh

    God your dumb.. I'm Asian America who work in and out of SE Asia.. I consider myself a Expat as I have no intention of ever migrating to any of those country. Dose that make me a White Supremacist.. according to you I am. haha

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  96. Andrew Crisp

    This article starts with a false premise and therefore it is fair to say that any conclusion drawn is absolute rubbish. The latin origin of the word may be correct but the rest of it is completely bogus. I emigrated to Australia from the UK permanent and don't consider myself an "expatriate" at all. I grew up in SE Asia where we were referred to as expat's but only because it was temporary. This has nothing to do with race. I have been both an expat and an immigrant and not for one minute has this anything to do with race or ethnicity. It is purely a use of the English language to describe the status of someone who chooses to live in a country other than the country where they were born or grew up. If you choose to leave permanently then perhaps immigrant is the correct term. If you live in another country temporarily for work then you are rightly an expat. Regardless of your ethnic background.

    If you have an issue or point that requires proper debate may I suggest that you check the validity of your argument before posting.

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  97. Roberto El Gringo

    If I meet this author living abroad one day, I will call this author an EXPAT to his face!

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  98. Joe Shelper

    It is completely impossible for westerners to become citizens of most Asian countries, by marriage or otherwise. That's why we stay expats, and why we aren't immigrants. But the latent racism of the developing world always gets glossed over by people like you. 😉

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  99. Sean Hammon

    Long before the murderous savage continent of Africa was targeted by world powers, expat was being used. So don't flatter yourself. Your hopeless insecurity bleeds out all over and is not very encouraging. You were conquered. As many were: white and black alike. Deal with it!

    Reply
  100. László Joachim

    My question about the article is that if we (very rightly) want to promote equality when using these terms then why should not everyone call themselves and ask to be called 'expats' from now on? It seems a much more constructive conclusion than calling somebody ('white people') something ('immigrants') they don't like… There is so much bitterness in many people already, deriving from things like that… And also, equality should rather be reached on a higher level (in case we accept the author's interpretation about the hierarchical relationship between the terms – as I can see, this isn't agreed upon by everyone) than by dragging each other down… Or am I missing something?

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  101. Dan Moriarty

    So true. Another similar language trick I noticed in the US was “immigrant” vs. “international.” I’m a US American married to a Bolivian. We live in Bolivia now, but when we lived in the US, my wife and I considered moving to an “immigrant” neighborhood, with lots of Latino and African families. Instead, we ended up in a kind of hip, affluent neighborhood (we were in a tiny apartment on in one of two apartment buildings on a street with mostly big houses). As we got to know neighbors, we realized that almost ALL of them were like us. We knew Italians, Cubans, Spaniards, Japanese, all married to US Americans, and then a French-Israeli couple. But people referred to that neighborhood as “very international.” Never an “immigrant” neighborhood. Mixed families may have had something to do with it, but class and race had a LOT to do with it.

    Reminds me, too, of Katrina, when the people in the US who had to leave their homes insisted on being called “displaced,” but not “refugees.”

    That said, I think there are differences in people’s situations abroad. I don’t think many people would call a Latino or African or Asian exchange student, diplomat, or someone temporarily assigned to the US with an INGO, etc., a “migrant” or “immigrant.” Maybe we should, though. And I’m definitely guilty of dropping the occasional ex-bomb (ex-pat) in describing myself. I’ll try “migrant.” My only misgiving there is whether we also get into an appropriation situation. “Migrant” is term that immediately evokes a host of political issues, few of which apply to me. I feel like if I suddenly referred to myself as a migrant, a lot of friends might think, “Nice try, whitey. Are you in constant fear of being deported? Did you have to leave your family to flee violence or impoverishment? Are you a victim of racism and xenophobia? You ain’t no migrant.” In my particular migrant/ex-pat circles in Bolivia, we talk a LOT about privilege, and the many ways it marks our presence here. Does calling ourselves im/migrants come across as an attempt to deny that?

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  102. Broughton Coburn

    To me, expat implies someone who has found a place to live elsewhere, and is unable, or is becoming unable, to move back to their home country and make a living — in other words, often, a loser. Immigrant, on the other hand, implies someone with initiative and hope, a vision for the future.

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  103. Rose Lynch

    Then why is a Polish worker in the UK called a migrant worker (thus being lumped in with 'the great immigration debate') and not an Expat? And why are a Brit family in HK whose children were born and raised there & plan to stay there still called Expats?

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  104. Rose Lynch

    I disagree that white western migrants in Asia & Africa would be insulted to be called immigrants. It's a semantic issue which is for the most part a deeply ingrained ideology (yes, perpetuated and maintained by an elite 'western' discourse) which is outwith the ordinary migrant's control. As a white person born and raised in China, I fought for a very long time to be considered a well-integrated immigrant rather than an expat. I knew second and third generation white/European residents in HK, Macau, & China who were in the same position of contesting this cultural bias. I believe the term does presume a certain social capital–the privilege of mobility most of all–and it is a class-loaded term, but it is not always the case that the 'white expat' benefits from this stereotyping. If the term has any semantic use, let it apply also to the migrant worker in the UK from Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe.

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  105. Solomon Lee

    I'm moved to Australia from China, and eventually naturalized and became a citizen of this country. Did I cease to be an expat/immigrant when I became a citizen? Now, what if I decide to move back to China for a few years for work? Would I be considered an immigrant/expat in China? Mind you, I no longer hold Chinese citizenship and will be on a work visa. But wouldn't I have been an immigrant twice? First a Chinese immigrant in Australia, then an Australian immigrant in China? That would sound ridiculous

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  106. Katie Wenzler

    I have never heard expat applied to anyone but white people. The "expat community" is always shorthand for the white community within a country that is not predominately white.

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  107. Ken Westmoreland

    No it doesn't – there are expatriates who are employed on the same contracts as citizens of their host countries. Also governments in different countries offer expatriate packages, not just multinational companies. I agree that it is not a racial thing – Japanese and South Koreans are expatriates too – it's more a class thing, with a divide between skilled and unskilled workers.

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  108. Ken Westmoreland

    No it doesn't – there are expatriates who are employed on the same contracts as citizens of their host countries. Also governments in different countries offer expatriate packages, not just multinational companies. I agree that it is not a racial thing – Japanese and South Koreans are expatriates too – it's more a class thing, with a divide between skilled and unskilled workers.

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  109. Ken Westmoreland

    I've been an expatriate in Singapore and my dad still is – there is nothing racist or colonialist about the term at all. My dad applied for permanent residence but was turned down because having lived and worked there 34 years, he was considered too old. So he's still an expatriate, and could be kicked out tomorrow, though two of his children are Singapore citizens.

    The issue is not one of race, but of class: if you're British and live in Spain, or American and live in Singapore, you're an expatriate, but if you're Polish and live in the UK, or Indonesian and live in Hong Kong, you're a migrant worker. I've no problem with everyone being called 'expatriate', even though expatriates are easier to get rid of than immigrants.

    Singaporeans can be just as xenophobic as Westerners – looking down at people from China, even though most are descended from immigrants from China. And maybe Mr Koutonin should ask Zimbabweans, Nigerians and Somalis in South Africa about the xenophobia they face from black South Africans. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2015/01/south-africa-soweto-tense-xenophobic-attacks-150123044841532.html

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  110. Dulce

    I had wondered about the same phenomenon in my blog (http://dulcecompania.net/2014/08/11/our-crepe-shaped-world-how-to-move-from-london-to-lima/). Some commentators here mention the status of the Poles as a counter argument. Similarly, I’m a black European treated as an expat in South America. I think the key is in the Wall Street Journal quote: “It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status.” It’s not just race, but this doesn’t take the racial element out of the picture. I’m still sometimes “mistaken” as an “immigrant” and my Finnish passport raises eyebrows (“how did she forge that?”), until I open my mouth to speak or to sip chai latte at Starbucks. THEN I get better treatment, but I notice that my white family members don’t ever even have to go through this validation, or bear that slightly longer inspection of their IDs.

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  111. cornel

    This is the dumbest most ignorant article I have ever read. Makes me want to burst out laughing.

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  112. L.L

    I can’t say anything more than my own experience. I am a Ph.D., but I was an immigrant in Spain (even though I earned my Ph.D. there and worked there for some time), I was an immigrant in Argentina, I am an immigrant (or as they like to call it, “newcomer”) in Canada. I have enough money not to have to work (not by choice, foreign highly educated people are having a hard time in Canada). And now, I am Chinese. I have never been (and am not) an expat in any of these places. I am quite well off. So you tell me.

    Reply

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