Once I arrived for my three-month training program in the small town of Santa Lucia Milpas Altas [Guatemala], I was disturbed to learn I was only one of seven minorities (and two Latinas) in our group of 52. We were completely outnumbered bu Caucasian trainees. Suddenly, my earlier misgivings were overshadowed by a more pressing question: Why are there so few minorities in the Peace Corps?
You’d think that as a US government agency operating in 77 countries, the Peace Corps would do a better job of representing our nation’s racial diversity. But only 19 percent of the more than 8,665 Peace Corps volunteers are minorities. This, in a country where almost 35% of the population is non-Hispanic white. [...]
As it turns out, I have experienced culture shock in Guatemala, only it has been through the misrepresentation of the United States as a homogenous country by an agency that should do more to encourage diversity among its volunteers.
– Susan Alvarado, “Culture Shock in Guatemala”, Latina, September 2011
The university I was assigned to was in a city about 75 minutes outside of the capital, and I remained a spectacle for the nine months I was there. I should state that I have never been mistaken for anything but Black. Even before I locked my hair, I have always had full lips, a broad nose, high cheek bones and dark skin. All of which made me so completely unprepared for people stopping dead in their tracks in the street, the marketplace, or basically anywhere I was, and starring with mouths open, pointing and yelling at me or to whoever they might be saying, “Nigeria!” “Hamaica (Jamaica),” “Mali,” “Burkina Faso,” and so on.
I couldn’t understand why I was such an attraction when right in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia there were people who looked just like me. Furthermore, my Filipino, East Indian and European co-workers never even got so much as a glance in the streets. All of the attention made me wonder….do Black folks not volunteer in Africa? Because if they did, I wondered what looked so alien about me–a Black woman–in Africa?
– Adisa Vera Beatty, “Color Struck: Black and Volunteering In Africa,” Clutch Magazine
About This BlogRacialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable
Keanu ReevesJohn Cho newsflashes.
Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at email@example.com.
The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.
Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.
Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.
Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.
Follow Us on Twitter!
- Medusa on The Scandal Mid-Season Finale Prediction Thread
- Medusa on Comedian Aamer Rahman Explains “Reverse Racism”
- Marly Pierre-Louis on Race + The Netherlands: Resistance, Lost in Translation
- DovSherman on Comedian Aamer Rahman Explains “Reverse Racism”
- Ellington on Comedian Aamer Rahman Explains “Reverse Racism”
- On Disability and Cartographies of Difference
- A Muslimah’s Guide to Rocking the World
- Quoted: Dr. David Leonard Pens Open Letter to Marissa Alexander
- The Acclaimed Web Series Black Folks Don’t Returns for a Third Season
- Comedian Aamer Rahman Explains “Reverse Racism”
- The Walking Dead Recap: 4.8 “Too Far Gone”
- The Walking Dead Roundtable 4.7 – “Dead Weight”
- The Scandal Mid-Season Finale Prediction Thread
TagsABC activism advertising african-american asian asian-american barack obama black celebrities comedy diversity fashion feminism film gender glbt HBO hip hop hispanic history hollywood identity interracial relationships Kerry Washington latino media mixed race movies music muslim politics race racial stereotypes racism religion Scandal sex sexism sexual stereotypes stereotypes True Blood tv Uncategorized white youtube