Last week’s episode of my podcast has been well-received. About 40 people seem to have listened so far (I say “about” because two of them were me), and people seem excited for more episodes.
The entire goal is to (use whatever verb suits you) analyze/discuss/problematize words or phrases that have anodyne or neutral official meanings yet are used to categorize people according to racial groups. We discussed “expats” last week, and in that episode, we quickly came to the conclusion that although “expat” and “immigrant” both technically mean people who have moved to a new country, the former is, depending on the location, usually used for white and/or western nationals. We discussed a point at which an expat can “become” an immigrant, and talked about how, with a permanent legal status, this can occur, as it signals the residence is no longer temporary.
However, what I’ve been thinking about since then is the fact that, for some people, they never have a chance to be considered an expat at all. Depending on your racialization, you can be considered an immigrant from day one and this status will never change. You can never experience the lack of suspicion (and the relative deference) that comes from being an expat. So, to me, we should think about what we mean if we choose to call ourselves “expats,” as it means more than we think it does.
Going forward, the next episode will focus on acronyms. TESOL, ELT, ESL, ELL, EFL, all that good stuff. Which ones are valuable, which ones should be discarded, are there, perhaps, new ones we should be using?
Should be available in a week or so. After that, words I will be discussing include, “urban,” “professional,” “cultural fit,” and, that lovely couplet, “diversity and inclusion.”