A tool to correct for your biases

The Baltimore Sun

The late Dori Maynard used to conduct a thoughtful workshop on fault lines in our culture in which she pointed out that there is a good deal more than the black/white divide to consider as we write and edit.

Our biases can also run along male/female, young/old, and straight/gay divides, as well as biases based on class, income, geography, and education. We hamper ourselves, our writers, and our publications when we do not take these elements fully into account.

As a male, college-educated, bourgeois liberal Democrat, I have to watch out for the things in the texts I edit that just feel right because they conform to my experience and expectations, the things I read over without thinking about them. Danger lies in the things you automatically identify and agree with.

At the Editors Association of Canada’s Editing Goes Global conference last week, Sarah Grey of Greyediting.com offered a comprehensive handout in her presentation on inclusive language that addressed concerns about gender, race, and disability.

She has posted on her website a pdf of the handout she distributed, along with the slideshow from her presentation. I commend that handout to you as an invaluable checklist that you would be well advised to make a template for your editing. Doing so will enhance your accuracy, clarity, fairness, and common courtesy.



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