The word “field” will no longer be used in the social work curriculum at the University of Southern California due to its problematic roots in slavery.
The modification, according to USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, is essential to promoting inclusivity and anti-racist social work.
According to a letter posted on Twitter with the date of January 9 and the word “practicum” in place of “field,” the department chose to change its curriculum.
In the letter, it was stated that the modification “supports anti-racist social work practise by substituting terminology that might be considered anti-Black or anti-immigrant in favour of inclusive language.”
The letter continued: “Language can be powerful, and phrases such as ‘going into the field’ or ‘field work’ maybe have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign.”
USC says they are joining other universities across the nation in making changes to their institution to “honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies.”
“We are committing to further align our actions, behaviors, and practices with anti-racism and anti-oppression, which requires taking a close and critical look at our profession — our history, our biases, and our complicity in past and current injustices,” USC said in the letter.
People have taken to Twitter to share their opinion on the change, with many opposing it.