The Meaning of Passport Privilege

What is passport privilege?

Summed up, it is a series of benefits or restrictions placed on your ability to move and live globally based on the nationality of your passport. But what does passport privilege actually look like? For me, it is a series of reminders not to dream too large. It is the understanding that my body, which has eagerly consumed snippets of the world in words and images, may never find itself physically in those dreamed about places.

Passport privilege (or the lack thereof) is knowing from a young age, without the words to explain the mechanisms at work, that for all the mzungu expats and tourists I encountered from exotic places like Missouri and France, the act of of touring, of living overseas wasn’t for people like me. It was something relegated to white bodies moving in brown spaces, or white bodies moving within other white spaces; the sort of thing that happens in Europe.

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Kari is a queer writer born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya who spent her formative years in Minnesota, where she often dreamed of warmer weather. She is an avid traveler, perpetual list-maker and sometimes performer. Her words have appeared all over the internet, on the radio and on stage. For more, check out her website or follow her on Twitter @the_warm_fruit.


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