Migrant boat sinks off Turkey – the swarthy expat dead speak loudy
What to do about migrants? What yo do about people searching for better lives? It should not be a hard question. But it is for the adults who make the decisions. There is only one thing to do: let them in.
Does langauge matter? Does it matter that we call the migrants as “swarm” or “flood”? No. It does not. These people can deal with the words. It’s the sticks and stones they fear.
Mehran Khalili on the terms for people from other places:
Immigration, a lexicon: You’re a ‘migrant’ when you’re very poor; ‘immigrant’ when you’re not so poor; and ‘expat’ when you’re rich.
Semantics matter: the images evoked by the words used to refer to a group of people will, over time, help to define what we think about that group and how we act towards it. And in the case of people migrating to Greece who have in recent years been badly mishandled by the state, the use of neutral language in reporting by international media and NGOs is vital.
Literally speaking, ‘migrants’ and ‘expats’ do indeed have the same meaning. But since practical usage can be something else entirely, feed both terms into Google Images to see how they’re illustrated. ‘Expats’ in Greece are depicted as white; ‘migrants’ as darker-skinned.
Who decides what ethnicity a person should have to be called a migrant? Who decides what socio-economic background, or legal status, qualifies someone for the ‘expat’ label?
Let’s scrap the ‘migrant’ label and call everyone living outside their native country an expat.