Language Police: USC Removes ‘Field’ from ‘Field Work’ Because It May Be ‘Anti-Black or Anti-Immigrant’

USC’s School of Social Work is removing the word “field” from its curriculum and practice, arguing that it “could be considered anti-black or anti-immigrant” to say someone is “going into the field” or conducting “field work.” The university explains, “our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies.”

“We have decided to remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘practicum.’ This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that could be considered anti-black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language,” a letter from the Practicum Education Department read.

The letter was shared by Houman David Hemmati, a board-certified MD Ophthalmologist and Ph.D. research scientist, who said the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work “will no longer use the word ‘field’ (as in ‘conducting field work’) because it’s perceived as racist.”

“Language can be powerful, and phrases such as ‘going into the field’ or ‘field work’ may have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign,” the letter continued.

The department went on to say “our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies.”

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