There’s a professor at Suffolk University in Boston who seems to think that certain words simply cannot be used by those inferior brown peoples. This is shameful, full stop. Yes, I know teachers need to be alert for the possibility of cheating, but it’s quite obvious that is not what happened here.
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.”
Martínez, an aspiring professor who was born and raised in the Bronx, told BuzzFeed News that her professor had called her to the front of the senior seminar course on Thursday to receive her graded paper when she made the language comment.
“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.
This incident certainly makes me wonder just how many other people have been stomped on and rendered suspect by this professor over the years. Such openly racist behaviour has no part in decent society, and definitely should not be part and parcel of a person’s education.
Martinez also described how the incident made her doubt her capabilities as a scholar.
In this interaction, my undergraduate career was both challenged and critiqued. It is worth repeating how my professor assumed I could not use the word “hence,” a simple transitory word that connected two relating statements. The professor assumed I could not produce quality research. The professor read a few pages that reflected my comprehension of complex sociological theories and terms and invalidated it all. Their blue pen was the catalyst that opened an ocean of self-doubt that I worked so hard to destroy. In front of my peers, I was criticized by a person who had the academic position I aimed to acquire. I am hurting because my professor assumed that the only way I could produce content as good as this was to “cut and paste.” I am hurting because for a brief moment I believed them.
Buzzfeed has the full story. One thing I know already: Ms. Martinez will make an outstanding professor, and is already much better than Prof. Not your word.