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.
If you think this is a fringe view, even the WSJ has made the point.
Here’s my only rebuttal: if you asked me, “Is an employee of the Indian embassy to the US, or a Ghanaian on a 2-year posting to the UN in New York, an ex-pat or an immigrant?” I would probably say ex-pat.
Why? That person has no intention of staying more than a short period. I would say the same of a Chinese McKinsey consultant in DC for a couple of years. And the Sierra Leonean UNICEF manager in Uganda, or the Nigerian police trainer in Liberia, would probably call themselves ex-pats as well.
I wouldn’t say the same of a Jamaican fruit picker. So is ‘ex-pat’ a term of privilege rather than race? I went back to the Wikipedia article, and indeed if you read a sentence or two further that’s exactly the point it makes. So classism not racism?
Too many white permanent immigrants call themselves ex-pats, though, and so Koutonin (selective quoting notwithstanding) has a good point.