When I was looking for examples of other editors' websites, I found this “radical copyeditor” who writes about issues they encounter while editing. The description reads:
“The concept of radical copyediting is based on the fact that language is not neutral. Through language we communicate values, norms, and ideals. Words matter: they can be used to harm or to heal; to perpetuate prejudice or imagine a different world; to oppress or to liberate.
"Copyeditors help authors and publishers make sure that the material they put into the world is clear, consistent, and understandable, by way of following grammar rules, dictionaries, style manuals, and other tools. A radical copyeditor does all that and also helps authors and publishers align their words with their values of inclusion, equity, and nonviolence, bringing forward a particular awareness and sensitivity to how norms around race, class, ability, gender, sexuality, age, and other elements show up in our language.
"Radical copyediting helps language live up to its most radical potential—serving the ends of access, inclusion, and liberation, rather than maintaining oppression and the status quo.”
I hope that I was a radical copyeditor in one of my sets of edits this year. I was editing an article on French diplomacy and was discomfited by several of the casual references to French colonial history and the relationship between France and its former colonies. One such reference was to France’s “traditional zone of influence,” which is of course simply where France was a colonial power in the 19th and 20th centuries, although that history was not mentioned. The author elsewhere referred to France’s “privileged relationship” with various French-speaking nations in the global South. Again, those nations are only French-speaking and arguably only part of the “global South” today precisely because of their colonization. Another passage described archeology as a field with a “long-standing proximity to diplomacy,” which, to me, glossed over the fact that many colonizers took artifacts from the places they colonized.
I said something to my contact at the publication, who passed my comments on to the author. The references were changed as follows. (I have not included direct quotes so that I might respect the privacy of the writer's first draft.)
French-speaking developing countries -->
French-speaking former colonies
its traditional zone of influence -->
edited to include a reference to the colonial period
And, to the passage on archeology, a sentence was added clarifying that the French had obtained artifacts as colonizers.
One small step towards language that is more inclusive and historically precise!