Home » USC Department Declares the Word “Field” to be “Anti-Black” – JONATHAN TURLEY

USC Department Declares the Word “Field” to be “Anti-Black” – JONATHAN TURLEY

by John Hensley


We have long discussed the increasing speech regulations and restrictions sweeping across universities in the United States, including mandating the use of pronouns and barring the use of other terms. The latest example comes from the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworek-Peck School of Social Work which has declared that the term “field” is racist and “anti-Black.” Thus, you cannot say that you are going to do “field work.” “Field” will be replaced with “practicum,” according to the January 9 memo. The announcement was made by the office of not of “field education” but the non-racist “Office of Practicum Education.” The School explained:

“In solidarity with universities across the nation, our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies. 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…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.”

Houman David Hemmati, a board-certified MD Ophthalmologist and PhD research scientist, was obviously perplexed to learn that he has been spewing racist speech for years in discussing field work and exercises. He 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, rushed to add the obvious without adding any further explanation. He told Fox News that the decision was made by the Office of Practicum Education “out of a desire to more accurately describe its work.”

Conversely, Elizabeth A. Graddy, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, seemed eager to distance her department from this latest woke controversy: “The university does not maintain a list of banned or discouraged words. We will continue to use words – including “field” – that accurately encompass and describe our work and research.”

However, the School of Social Work continues to herald its replacement of the word “field” as another triumph in the fight for “dismantling oppressive and discriminating systems.”

Of course, here may have to be some changes, including in this soon to be renamed movie “Practicum of Dreams.”



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