As a student undertaking a professional writing and editing course, I shared a class with a woman who consistently produced stories of such brilliance that our educators sung her praise to all and sundry. She appeared in class as dishevelled and was frequently off in a world of her own. She struggled to present her beautiful storytelling in an acceptably approved form, and while her stories were magical, her formal grades were consistently awful. She was also a woman with schizophrenia. Despite her marks, she nevertheless, with assistance, was able to become a published writer. Teachers had focused on the semantics of marking and dismissed her talent with no regard for the creative value of her work. I have no idea what became of my talented, unkempt classmate, but twenty years after the fact I recall the lesson and the truth in the old adage-slash-cliché: never judge a book by its cover.<Back to Program
Linguicism is “the unfair treatment of an individual or community based on their use of language”. Linguicism, however, does not exist in a vacuum with racism; it can take on many forms. It can exist in conjunction with disabilities, class, and other characteristics that reveal the writer’s social status and can result in the dismissal of their creative endeavours with prejudice. As editors, our responsibility to the art of writing is to support the creator and their creative dialogue. To do this effectively, we need to be open to working with a diversity of both writers and audiences. It is not possible to achieve this without understanding the role linguicism plays in limiting valuable contributions or audiences.
This presentation seeks to identify the concept of linguicism within the context of editing and publishing, and explore how we can use that knowledge to ensure that we are enabling a diversity of authentic narratives reaching consumers.