James Callery, Daily Mail, January 11, 2023
The University of Southern California’s School of Social Work has published a letter saying it will remove the word ‘field’ from its curriculum and practice and replace it with the word ‘practicum’ instead.
The move is meant to reflect ‘anti-racist’ values, but some have argued that it insults the intelligence of the people who it is addressing.
‘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,’ the letter read.
‘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.’
Houman David Hemmati, a board-certified MD Ophthalmologist and PhD research scientist, tweeted: ‘Today, @uscsocialwork sent out this letter announcing that they will no longer use the word “field” (as in “conducting field work”) because it’s perceived as racist. Is this with merit or empty virtue signaling?’.
Interim dean of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Vassilios Papadopoulos, sought to clarify the situation. He told Fox News Digital that he understands the decision was made by the Office of Practicum Education ‘out of a desire to more accurately describe its work’.
He added: ‘Because the Office is not an academic department, its name change was not subject to a formal review process. The university does not maintain a list of “banned” or discouraged words. As an institution of higher education, we will continue to use words – including the word “field” – that accurately encompass and describe our work and research, while also continuing our efforts to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all.’
Responding to the announcement that the word ‘field’ will be removed by that department, one Twitter user wrote: ‘For someone who spent more than 7 years at USC with 2 graduate degrees from this institution, I am so embarrassed at what’s happening there. I wonder how much of my money they spent on coming up with this amazingly useful change.’
Another commented: ‘Wow, I went to USC and never thought it was particularly woke. Of course that was 10 years ago now… and I didn’t study social work.’
A third tweeted: ‘Are they still going to have baseball and football fields?’
Last year, the University of Washington issued an IT inclusive language guide that aimed to cut out ‘words that reflect racial or other discriminatory bias,’ covering the full woke spectrum.
‘Mantra’ was among the problematic words highlighted, as many people in the Buddhist and Hindu communities hold this term as highly spiritual and religious.
The phrase ‘no can do’ was also listed, as it is apparently an imitation of Chinese Pidgin English, dating from the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries – an era when Western attitudes towards the Chinese were markedly racist.
Stanford University published a similar index of ‘harmful language’ last year. One of the words considered damaging was ‘guru’ as the term is a sign of respect in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. ‘Brave’ also appeared on the list because the University considered it to perpetuate the stereotype of the ‘noble courageous savage’.
Stanford University also said it wanted to swap the word ‘American’ with ‘US citizen’, as the former ‘often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the Americas (which is actually made up of 42 countries)’.