20 moments that prove Ugly Betty was ahead of its time

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When Marc tells Betty she was only picked for YETI because she was Latina

It’s no surprise that Ugly Betty dealt with the topic of race a lot. Betty Suarez is a Mexican-American woman from Queens who has to work in an office in Manhattan surrounded by mostly thin, white people at Mode, and Betty always sticks out like a sore thumb for countless reasons. In this season 3 episode, her race possibly helped her have an edge in the competition, but it’s not something she’s proud of.

One day in the office, Betty runs into Nick Pepper, Alexis Meade’s former assistant, and finds out he’s now a big-time editor at The New York Review. Obviously, Betty is interested to know how he made the leap, because she wants to spread her wings and be more than just Daniel’s assistant. He tells her about a program called the Young Editors Training Initiative, or YETI, and she’s immediately interested.

When she tries to get more information about the program, she discovers that she has to make a concept for a magazine, but the upcoming deadline is in a few days. She doesn’t want to wait until the next year to start working towards her goals, so the ever-proactive Betty takes on the challenge and gets to work. She has the help of her family and friends, who question the idea of her doing a fashion magazine, so she finally settles on a lifestyle magazine to inspire young women, named B Magazine.

Marc, on the other hand, had been working on his high fashion magazine concept for three months, and made a full mocked up issue for his presentation. The competition is fierce as only one person from any publication can be in the program, so it has to be either Marc or Betty. And in the end, it ends up being Betty.

This is where the problems begin. Marc is angry, obviously, and when Betty approaches him and says maybe they just liked her concept more, Marc can’t keep his mouth shut. He tells Betty that there’s no way her two day project was better than the concept he worked on for three months. The final burn comes when he says she was only picked to help YETI reach their quota, because she’s Latina.

Betty is offended he would say such a thing, but when she reaches out to YETI, they don’t exactly deny the claim. In the end, both Marc and Betty get to be in the program (because of a loophole and the fact that Betty worked at another magazine for a brief period that year), but it was still a reminder of Betty’s race being a constant roadblock to her success — even if this time it meant having a leg up, it wasn’t the way she wanted to earn her spot.