A university department in the United States said it removed the word “field” from its curriculum because it might have racist “connotations”.

As part of the change, phrases such as “field work” and “going to the field” will no longer be used, according to a letter from the University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work.

Explaining the decision, he said: “We have decided to remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘internship’.

“This shift supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that would be considered anti-black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language.

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

The letter was addressed to staff and students of the “Department of Internship Education”, which until recently was called the Department of Field Education.

He continued: “Our goal is not just to change the language, but to honor and recognize inclusion and reject white supremacist, anti-immigrant and anti-black ideologies.

“We know changing terminology can be difficult, and a full transition will take time.”

In a statement to Fox News, USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work said it was “joining other universities in making this change.”

“I understand that this decision was made by the Internship Teaching Office in an effort to more accurately describe his work,” said the school’s acting dean, Vassilios Papadopoulos.

“Because the Office is not an academic department, its name change has not gone through a formal review process.

“The university does not maintain a list of ‘prohibited’ or discouraged words.

“As a higher education institution, we will continue to use words – including the word ‘field’ – that accurately encompass and describe our work and research, while continuing our efforts to create a more inclusive environment. and welcoming to all.”

The move to USC comes after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it would end the use of “field” and “field worker,” using terms instead. such as “local office” and “community staff”.

“Staff and stakeholders have expressed concerns about the use of the term ‘outline worker’ and its implications for descendants of black and brown individuals,” he said in a memo.

“While the widespread use of this term is not intended to be harmful, we cannot ignore the impact its use has on our employees,” the memo reads. “Establishing a common language is essential to our collective progress.”

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