Tuesday 20 September 2016

The Polite Language Of Racism

Being an expat myself, I find this a fascinating article by an Australian man who has settled in Switzerland.

...an expat is someone who is working and living temporarily in a foreign country and expects to return home once the mission is completed and does not intend to take a new nationality. I am not here temporarily, and I have taken a new nationality.

The word expat is not used when referring to many of my friends here, though. One, who was born and educated in Switzerland, but holds Portuguese nationality, is an immigrant. His wife, who is American, is an expat.

I'd never considered this before, but why do we call Polish working migrants to the UK immigrants and not expats. Why am I called an expat and not an immigrant?

The language we choose to use makes a world of difference.


  1. So true. I guess I think of expats as temporary migrant workers. They aren't going to stay forever. They are there because of employment. They will leave should that employment evaporate. Then there are the displaced, like me. Work or no work, I can't leave because I love the place so much. Sooner or later, I suspect they'll kick me out.

    1. Yeah, but then there are the Costa del Sol expats, or British retirees, who have no intention of returning home alive. They are definitely immigrants.

    2. I'm going to start referring to myself as an immigrant.

  2. I read this and found it interesting too! Thought-provoking, and a reason to edit our instant-recall images...