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From outsiders to on- paper equals to cultural curiosities? The trajectory of diversity in the USA [ITU J Faculty Arch]
ITU J Faculty Arch. 2007; 4(1): 5-19

From outsiders to on- paper equals to cultural curiosities? The trajectory of diversity in the USA

John Betancur
College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA

When I first came to the USA to attend graduate school, I went to a southern university with a group of scholars from Latin America. Immediately after the plane landed, we were directed to the registration and admissions office of the university. We filled out a form and waited for our names to be called. When I finally understood that the voice in the microphone was calling me, I approached the desk anxiously. This was my first time outside of my home country and I did not speak much English. As soon as the clerk received my form, she pointed to a line on the application speaking in a loud voice that resonated throughout the entire auditorium— she had not turned off the microphone. After some repetition, I finally understood what she was saying, “where are you from”? I replied, “Latin America.” “Why then did you identify yourself as white?” Looking at my white arm I mumbled words without making any sense. Finally, I asked, “What is then my race?” “B R O W N,” she emphasized with a bit of incredulity. I looked around confused noticing that my colleagues were correcting their forms. I felt embarrassed. That moment marked the beginning of my racial transformation.

Keywords: Outsiders, Cultural curiosities, Diversity


John Betancur. From outsiders to on- paper equals to cultural curiosities? The trajectory of diversity in the USA. ITU J Faculty Arch. 2007; 4(1): 5-19

Corresponding Author: John Betancur, Türkiye


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