Joshua Whitehead

Country of Origin:

Canada

Themes:

Racism/Discrimination, Aboriginal Issues, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity

Photos:

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Bio

I am entering my fifth year at the University of Winnipeg and will be graduating with a B.A. in English Honours. I primarily study Critical Race Theory and Gender Politics. During the summer I work and volunteer with the Selkirk Friendship Centre Summer Playground Program. My employment with said company involves working with youth, primarily Aboriginal, and providing experiences that would otherwise have passed them by.

http://www.thinairwinnipeg.ca/say-the-word-dites-les-mots-poet-biographies

Story

I am a member of Peguis First Nation. I have spent time both on and off the reserve and live in Selkirk, Manitoba. As a student of literature and culture I am interested in studying both gender politics and critical race theory, which I find are one and the same. As a writer I am interested in exploring identity, an umbrella term, which for me encompasses: gender, race, class, and sexuality. It is important for me as a writer to exhibit and identify the constructedness of said identity. I hope to foster a desire in my readers to seek and acknowledge the difference between one’s awareness of who they are and who they present themselves as.

As an Aboriginal gay male I have found myself marginalized and silenced within discourses in both private and academic settings. Throughout my childhood I was taught little to nothing about my personal subjectivity or my homosexuality, so thus I learned to fear and suppress said subjects. I hope to offer insight into such subjects and to empower those who are or were silenced much as I was, even if they are of a different subjectivity: that of gender, that of race, or that of sexuality. For me, acceptance is not acceptance if silence follows order.

I believe that writing is an exhibition of one’s self and a celebration of the vocalization of one’s innermost thoughts. While the writer undergoes a metamorphosis during writing so too should the reader. I greatly value the Marianne Williamson quote, “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Such is the power of writing, the power of the relationship formed between author and reader, the power we have as conscious individuals.