University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Student Teachers Anti-Racism Society (STARS) promotes anti-racism education at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan through the support of the College. We work collaboratively to understand, identify, and address individual and systemic racism and its interlocking forms of oppression based on gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion and other socially constructed categories. We believe that anti-racist and decolonizing education, when woven together, can create humanizing and emancipatory change for everyone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Cautionary tale for self-proclaimed “Allies”

Initially, I was excited about the website: Itspronoucedmetrosexual

I have seen the Genderbread Person used frequently and thought it was a great explanation for the fluidity of gender expression and identity. I even downloaded the free digital copy of the book by Sam Killermann.
However, when I posted a link to the free digital copy of the book on my Facebook I found myself quickly informed by a couple of my activist friends that the book was entirely based on plagiarized material. My friend Sean Waldbillig, commented: The info is important, but just remember it's not his work first. A lot of work, culture, and art has been coopted from marginalized communities. Much of it is the coopting of the knowledge of Black and Indigenous peoples (specifically women of colour) by white people.

 Another friend posted this website which researches the entire investigation of the intersectional appropriation of the Genderbread Person: https://storify.com/cisnormativity/the-genderbread-plagiarist. Which states, “Mr. Killermann didn't mention how what he'd seen online may have been the collective working efforts of trans people and, instead of building a new brand from their work, maybe he should have been finding ways to advocate for them by boosting their voices in their name. That kind of selfless advocacy is how one earns the respect of being seen as an ally by those who experience intersectional marginalization and violence.”
This website includes an interesting visual history of the origins of the Genderbread Person Infographic. It also discusses the problems with the simplification found in all the Genderbread Person info graphics and is a very informative read.

We need to ensure that we are not applauding and rewarding members of dominant groups who steal intellectual knowledge and speak “for” marginalized communities while silencing the voices of those very communities they are pretending to advocate on behalf of.

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