The USC School of Social Work drops the use of the word “field.”

The University of Southern California School of Social Work refrains from using the word “field” to counteract racism.

“As we begin 2023, we would like to share a change we are making at the Suzanne-Dworak-Peck School of Social Work to ensure we are using inclusive language and practice. In particular, we have decided to remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘practice’. This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that might be viewed as anti-Black or anti-immigrant with inclusive language,” read a statement about the change conditions.

“Language can be powerful, and phrases like ‘going into the field’ or ‘working in the fields’ can have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers who are not benign,” the statement said. The notice indicates that it came from the “Internship Training Department” and the “USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck Internship Training Community, faculty, staff and students.”

“In solidarity with universities across the country, our goal is not just to change the language, but to honor and recognize inclusion and reject the ideologies of white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness,” the statement reads the message. “We are committed to further aligning our actions, behaviors and practices with anti-racism and anti-oppression, which requires a close and critical look at our profession – our history, our prejudices and our complicity in past and current injustices. It also means continuing to work together to educate social work students today who understand and embody social and racial justice.”

The notice states that changing the terminology can be difficult and will take some time to fully transition.

The USC School of Social Work has a country recognition posted online.

“The Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California recognizes our presence in the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Gabrielino-Tongva peoples. We recognize that these peoples were forcibly expelled from their homelands,” the acknowledgment reads in part. “We humbly recognize and respect all indigenous peoples, their history and their connection to the land.” The USC School of Social Work drops the use of the word “field.”

Laura Coffey

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