Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Very Silly Case of Plagiarism

I understand that sometimes students plagiarize, but could they at least do it intelligently? A student sent me an essay on Hispanic immigrants in the US that was plagiarized from very nasty anti-immigration websites. How it can possibly occur to a person that a professor who is very evidently an immigrant will be happy to read such an essay is beyond me.

The plagiarized essay started with an assertion that shocked me: there is free universal healthcare in the US paid for by the tax payers. I'm horrified that anybody can be so out of touch with what's going on in their country. And it's funny how that same person who doesn't know a first thing about this country is so anti-immigrant.

The essay also stated that illegal immigrants get welfare and unemployment (a lie) and that Hispanic immigrants "procreate at alarming rates" (a nasty racist lie). They also spread contagious diseases. There was a lot more offensive vile anti-immigrant stuff in that essay (all copy-pasted from the Internet) but I couldn't bear reading it any further.

I will have to read 35 final essays in this course and I sincerely hope they are better than this one.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Snarky Writer said...

How alarming can their rate of procreation be when they're limited to 1 every 9 months . . . like everyone else on the planet? *eyeroll*

Also, plagiarists are stupid for doing it in the first place, so it's no surprise that they can't do it intelligently. :P

Vertigo said...

Do you give an automatic 'f' for plagiarism? Do you reported to the Dean of students?

Anonymous said...

The student is a lazy plagiarist who just assumed you wouldn't care because you are not what s/he thinks when s/he thinks of Hispanic immigrants, and s/he presumed that you are here legally, if s/he thought at all.

Can you flunk this essay, if not the student, for plagiarism,if you are so inclined?

I apologize for bluntness, I just have neither patience nor politenss left with such ugly nativism.

Clarissa said...

This was the first draft of the beginning of the essay that the student sent to me to see if she "was going in the right direction." We'll see what the final version of the essay looks like. What I fail completely to understand is why some students would want to antagonize the professor right before the final grades are calculated with such blatant plagiarism?

Steve Hayes said...

I taught at a distance education where students recieved printed study guides in lieu of lectures. One student's essay was full of unacknowledged quotations from the study guide, with no original material at all. I gave the student 0, and pointed out that since I wrote the study guide, I found it boring to have to re-read it, and if every student did that, I'd have to re-read it many times. For unintelligent plagiarism, that takes the cake.

DM said...

Let's see.

Perhaps he or she did not even read the text that was copied and pasted.

Perhaps he or she does not consider you a Hispanic immigrant: you don't do construction or cleaning jobs, you are not a welfare mother, you are not a gang member (which is perhaps what he or she believes all immigrants are). Isn't it the case that in Brazil, one may be seen as more or less "black" depending on the position in the social ladder?

Anonymous said...

This is why I don't like to read homework in language classes -- it is full of these kinds of comments.

I have a colleague whose student plagiarized by typing up and turning in a very old article by the selfsame colleague.

Clarissa said...

The student in question wrote back to me to say she had no idea that copy-pasting from the Internet was plagiarism. Never mind that it's spelled out very clearly in the syllabus plus I talked about it extensively in class on 2 different occasions plus for the purposes of this final essay I said very specifically that the Internet should not be used at all.

DM: I'm not even Hispanic. But I'm still an immigrant. And I teach Hispanic civilization. So the copy-pasting was a bad idea on every count.

DM said...

@Clarissa: He or she perhaps did not even realize you were an immigrant?

Clarissa said...

I mentioned that I am on various occasions.

This student definitely has a thing against Hispanics. Today, we looked at a passage that says: "Latin Americans are, thus, robbed of opportunities to work." I asked what the passage was saying to which this student volunteered to respond: "It says Latin Americans are criminals because they rob!" You have to try really hard to read this passage this way.

Anonymous said...

Wait, you teach at the graduate level, right? It sort of kills me that you have to explicitly explain AT ALL that copy-pasting from the internet is plagiarism. People who haven't learned that shouldn't have made it out of high school.

Also, this reminds me of a facebook note posted by a relative of mine asking, since countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Iran execute their illegal immigrants or at least sentence them to years of hard labor, why does the US give them welfare, free health care, social security cards, food stamps, drivers' licenses, credit cards and pre-paid cell phones for just walking over the border?

When I pointed out that, in fact, we do not do these things, another poster told me to go f*** myself.

Clarissa said...

Gosh, if the illegal immigrants in the US get all that, maybe I should leave and come back illegally. I'm getting short-changed here. :-) :-)

DM said...

@chavisory: A certain share of politial militantism (be it from the Left or the Right) consists in talking about a fantasy world; the only problem is that these people think it is the real world.