A Latina student at a university in Boston said that her professor on Thursday handed back her paper and told her, in front of the class, “This is not your language.”
After looking at more of the comments the professor left on her literature review, Suffolk University sociology major Tiffany Martínez noticed that the professor had circled the word “hence” and had written, “This is not your word,” underlining “not” twice.
And at the top of her paper, the professor had written, “Please go back & indicate where you cut & paste.”
“She spoke loudly enough that students at the back of the room heard and asked if I was OK after class,” Martínez said.
She felt terrified after the incident.
“I spent the rest of the class going back through every single line, every single citation to make sure that nothing had been plagiarized, even though I knew I hadn’t,” she said.
Later that day in a blog post titled “Academia, Love Me Back,” Martínez wrote about her experiences as both a first-generation college student and US citizen at what she calls “an institution extremely populated with high-income white counterparts.”
“My last name and appearance immediately instills a set of biases before I have the chance to open my mouth,” she wrote.
“As a minority in my classrooms, I continuously hear my peers and professors use language that both covertly and overtly oppresses the communities I belong to. Therefore, I do not always feel safe when I attempt to advocate for my people in these spaces,” she added.
Martinez also described how the incident made her doubt her capabilities as a scholar.