You can’t make this stuff up.

The School of Social Work at the University of Southern California just announced that to avoid sounding anti-Black or anti-immigrant, it will “remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘practicum’.” It seems that “‘going into the field’ or ‘fieldwork’ may have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign.”

I’ll bet good money that that nonsense emerged in a faculty lounge discussion. To be clear, I celebrate the freedom inherent in LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage, and the pro-choice movement. I abhor racism. My annoyance with the “field” rewording doesn’t reflect personal ideology. It’s more about going to ridiculous lengths to police language in a manner that doesn’t “offend” anyone.

Well, I’m offended. Where does this frenzy end? Will USC’s football stadium, now called United Airlines Field, become United Airlines Practicum? Should we come up with new names for Washington D.C. and the Jefferson Memorial, both honoring revered Americans who lived in luxury thanks to enslaved labor — sadly, a common practice at the time?

After a writing class I taught for the National Park Service in Denver, a participant described the frustrations of working with his cloistered, often tenured, counterparts at the University of Colorado. The Boulder campus, he said with a chuckle, amounts to a “square mile surrounded by reality.” 

I doubt that the USÇ and Colorado examples are isolated.

Dave Griffiths, Mechanic Falls

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