Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College



Carlos and the pogroms of Chechnya

Protector_of_the_sheepIn a recent article from the New York Times regarding Chechnya, gay men are subjected to torture and abuse. Homosexuality is not accepted in Chechnya because of the influences of religion (Kramer. Kramer) Homophobia is common in Chechnya because many people are not in agreement with it. Gay men are viewed differently, they must hide their sexual orientation to stay out of trouble. One of the men’s father has so much hatred for his sexuality he has the desire to kill his own son.

In Prospero’s daughter we see Carlos being accused of assaulting a women yet there is no evidence to the claims. Despite the lack of evidence detective Mumsford is persistent believing that Carlos did it. Of course, throughout the story he ultimately sided with Carlos but initially the clear prejudice in race is overwhelming clear. 

Carlos in Prospero’s Daughter shows a similar trait to gay men in Chechnya. Although Carlos was never tortured, he was accused of assaulting Virginia mainly because of his skin color. Mumsford automatically assume it was Carlos because of his one-sided views. In the colonial time of Prospero’s daughter colored people are generally viewed differently, they are not accepted because of appearance and not by their characteristics. The Englishmen oversaw the colony so of course they do no view themselves the same as the workers. Just as Chechnya’s gay men are also subjected to prejudice because of their sexuality, they cannot tell anyone not even their best friends otherwise they are subjected to torture and most likely death. The gay men of Chechnya show a heavy connection to Carlos, in that they are both subjected to prejudice and unfair treatment/assumptions.

A “Woman” has No Name


Game of Thrones is a widely popularized series written by George R. Martin adapted as a  television series by HBO. It features a competition for the Iron throne (the symbol for ruling the continent) in the form of war. The three families and their alliances fight until death to decide the final victor and the true ruler of the Iron Throne.  A few female characters highlight the differences  between men and women in the series. Specifically Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth are the major characters that embodies the issue of gender inequality in the ranks among men . They are told by these men as incapable of fighting in the same fields as men because of their gender. Many Minor characters mostly men said that they should do the things that every other women did such as cleaning the house, marry a noble or a lord, and drop the sword and act like a real lady. These statements explore the issues of gender relative to our course theme of gender.

In the series the character Brienne of Tarth is predominantly the main recipient for the gender roles mockings. She embodies the idea of inequality among the genders because she is seen most for being teased and mocked as a women in battle. In a world of men and war, she is one of the few women that disproves the idea of  women not being able to fight and lead. The mockings are a clear indication of  inequality between women and men in Game of Thrones because no man mocks another man because he cannot fight, they mock a women because she is indifferent gender wise. Brienne of Tarth does not get the same respect for her superior swordsmanship and loyalty, while a knight of inferior swordsmanship is praised because he is a male. Gender inequality is portrayed as a side story to the main plot of Game of Thrones. Gender in reality is seen as an unimportant role to our daily lives but in truth it affects the lives of many today.

Brienne of Tarth is reminds me of Carlos in Prospero’s Daughter. Both characters experience the prejudice of their environment but in a different way. Brienne is faced with the harassment of being a different gender while Carlos is suspected of the crime because of his race. It is said in the story Carlos is a handsome man with prominent features in poetry, but he is suspect to have attempted to rape a women because he is of Caribbean descent. Facing with their peers and prejudice Brienne and Carlos’s skills are seen as irrelevant, because prejudice over race and gender is in fact more influential than skillets.

A Day in the Fields

Rice_fields_near_Doi_Inthanon_NP Before arriving to America, I remember waking up every Sunday walking to the fields with my grandparents. On a hot Sunday morning when its too bright to go outside without a hat we set a goal to visit the fields to prepare for the Fall harvest. I remember feeling a cool breeze flying past my cheeks as I came close to the rice fields. The fields were half way filled with water and half of the fields covered with rice plants. I slowly walked towards the fields my grandparents were working on, upon arriving at the rice fields I felt a joyous welcome as the villagers greeted me. I remember taking off my shoes and placing it on the road as to not dirty them while rolling up my pants. I slowly put my feet on to the cold soft mud,it was wonderful as the heat slowly dissipates away from my body. That morning the sense of relief and cooling from the sun was as good as cold ice cream on an hot summer day. I walk closer to the center of the field to check of some of the plants, the water starts rising above my ankles and gradually towards my knees. If the water was clear enough I might have taken a few sips.

My grandmother ask me to help her plant the seeds on the corners of the field. When I moved closer to one of the  plants I felt a small wriggle beneath my feet. I lifted my leg up to see see the mysterious creature which both surprising and interesting; it was a worm in the shape of a toothpick quite large of it’s size.I examined the creature and set it down in the muddy water and watch as it dives back into the mud. The encounter was memorable it compelled me to think nature, how did such organisms come to be and what are their purpose? The interactions with nature from small animals to enormous trees creations sated my boredom for  that day. As the sun slowly fade under the grey clouds leaving red and orange streaks,  my grandparents and I headed home for supper. I remember that Sunday the most  because it was one of the happiest and saddest day of my life. It was the  last Sunday that I spent in the village, at the early age of six my parents and I left for America, leaving my grandparents and the fields behind.

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