If I Ever Leave America, I Wouldn’t Be Expat — I’d Be an Immigrant

I would be viewed as an immigrant and not an expat, mostly due to the color of my skin

Photo by Jeremy Dorrough on Unsplash

“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.”

Then, it continues onto its point,

“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’.”

I had never thought about this before — Mostly because I never really saw myself living in another country (I’ve definitely thought about it, but more as a fantasy rather than a reality).

If I’m born in America, but of Filipino descent, would I be considered an expat or an immigrant if I were to ever leave the United States?

The response was pretty unanimous. I would be viewed as an immigrant and not an expat, mostly due to the color of my skin.

But knowing that this prejudice is not limited to our nation’s borders is what puts me over the edge.

Because that just means that I can never escape it no matter where I go. So, I’m at a crossroads — Do I accept this?

Writer, Runner, and Plant Mom based in Brooklyn, New York. I write about writing and life in general.

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