It has been an interesting few years with everything going on in the world. One of the things that I am personally loving is the ability for people to call out racism, sexism and intolerance more overtly. It has transformed people’s behaviour…. let’s be honest….to a degree.

However, the flip side to this is that I often hear comments within the corporate world, that those in a position of privilege, feel that they have had to curtail their communications with people, because they do not feel safe speaking openly… any longer.

I have to advise that this comment makes me laugh. It just does. It appears that there is a tool that many of those in a position of privilege have not had an opportunity to develop – the ability to edit! Candidly – those in a position of “not being privileged” have had to edit themselves on an ongoing basis for their entire lifetime and it has just been a skill required to succeed. So come on privileged individuals – you too can learn the ability to edit.

Now if you are new to the use of editing, let me explain what it is and how to use it.

Edit – a change or correction made as a result of editing.

to make changes to a text or filmdeciding what will be removed and what will be kept in, in order to prepare it for being printed or shown:

So basically, changing or correcting what you were about to say, before you say it! Does not sound that hard, but if you are used to saying whatever is on your mind, then this is a skill that will need to be developed and exercised.

Now I know that it must be challenging for those in privilege, because for a lifetime, the ability to say whatever you wanted without consequences, has been a right that has been used with impunity. However, the recipient of many of those consequences, have had to practice the tool of editing, in replying or not replying to these comments. For example, I was once on an elevator with a senior partner and he turned and asked me out of the blue, why there was such poverty for the South Asian community within the GTA (of which I am a member) and what was the basis for this? Now without my editing skills, I would have responded with a very abrasive response, likely leading to my immediate or eventual dismissal from the firm. However, understanding the repercussions of such a response, I responded using my tools of editing myself, by asking him where he was basing this information on and advising that this had not been my experience and then gracefully exiting on the next available floor cutting the conversation short – the power of being able to edit.

So here are some tools to assist in learning the power of editing:

  1. Not everything you think, needs to be shared vocally. Sometimes keeping your thoughts to yourself, so that you do not offend or antagonize, makes the world go round easier.
  2. The racist, sexist and offensive jokes of yore, do not need to be replayed today. Perhaps you felt fine making those comments in the past, in the environment you were in, but now, those jokes do not go over well. So if you are missing those days, the solution is to replay those moments in your mind and use your power of editing, not to reshare those moments – a win win for all.
  3. Lastly – the corporate world is not your home family room. Things that you might feel comfortable discussing or saying to family of friends, in the comfort of your home, do not need to be shared in the office environment, especially, if it is going to make those at work, uncomfortable, hurt or made to feel less than.

These are my tips for editing, to those not familiar with it. For many of us, the power to edit, has been engrained into us, since we were young i.e. not to respond whenever someone calls you a Paki, or not to turn hostile when you are told that South Asian women are just not as attractive as other races etc…

We have been taught how to diffuse a situation, not antagonize and use our ability to edit what we would actually like to say, into something that may educate, something that does not make the discussion confrontational or using the power of editing to keep quiet, and wait for another moment, to take bring a balance back to the situation.

But that’s just one Diva’s view.

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