Search

Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College

Category

humanity

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

IMG_1675

On March 8, 2017 I attended the women’s Strike in Washington Square Park. Knowing that we were all there for a common goal to speak on issues that affect us as women daily really inspired me want to do something more for the cause. A photographer who started a women’s series project for the month of March reached out to me about possibly sharing my story. While we were there he interviewed me to be featured in the series. At first I was a little spectacle to volunteer, I didn’t want to get judge for sharing personal feelings. After much contemplating I decided to do it because being scared of getting judge wasn’t a good excuse. It was silly for me to turn down an opportunity that would possibly impact other women in my same position. Below is my interview. It is extremely personal but I’m sharing it because I know it is an issue that many daughters and mothers faced. It’s a relevant issue for women.

 

Interview: In High School, I didn’t have many worries. I often would be hours at school because it was better than being at home. I avoided drama whenever possible because it remind me of what I was trying to escape. In high school I used to have fun, I was passionate about things and I remember always having a smile on my face and laughing all the time. When you are that young it seems like nothing can really ruin your life, until something actually does. When my father left it was life changing. And not because I was destroyed in the fact that he left. I actually wished countlessly that he would go. When your dad starts. But my mother and I didn’t have similar feelings. So when he left it destroyed her. She didn’t know how to pick up the pieces. She didn’t know how to pick herself back up again and I had to pick up the pieces. I was no longer carefree because I spent my days worrying and caring for her. It was a heavy burden to bare and it definitely took a toll on me and our relationship. She went through a deep depression and I was forced to grow up not because I wanted to but because I had to. Everything was different; I wasn’t passionate about things anymore. I think I lost myself through my mother’s pain. I wasn’t even able to deal with my own pain because I was worried about fixing hers. I was concerned with her healing; I was obsessed with her getting over it. In an odd way I thought, “If she got over it then our lives would go back to normal”. But that didn’t happen, for a long time things weren’t normal. When I was younger I was really artistic and it came natural to me, it was one of the only things I was passionate about and suddenly I just stopped, I quit making art. I put it aside for a long time because in a way I felt guilty for pursuing things that I enjoyed. My mother’s misery weighed heavy on me and giving up art was one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever had to do. I lived a lost and stressful life for a very long time. One night I broke down, I just started crying and I couldn’t stop. I think that after maybe hours of dry heaving and ugly crying I realized how unhappy I was and came to the realization that even though my mother was going through something it wasn’t my burden. So, I turned to art, I needed a way to release my pent up emotions. Eventually it helped me find my youth and myself again.

 

My advice or I guess mantra to other women would be to embrace challenges. I feel like embracing challenges made me who I am today, without them I wouldn’t have a story. I dealt with resentment towards my mother and her decisions after my father left. she often talked about taking her life away and is was painful to hear because I had this image and expectation of her. I wanted her to be strong and courageous but she wasn’t. I realized I had to be those things for the both of us. what i’m getting at is that many of us like to judge other women and put them down because they aren’t the “ideal” woman. I was guilty of it, but this only creates barriers between us when we should be untied rather than out casting other women for choices that you don’t agree with, why not lend an ear, a hand, a hug, why not help? why not embrace your challenges and understand theirs?

 

 

Love Beyond Outsiders

Human rights group, Amnesty International Japan, recently released a proposal to the Japanese government earlier this month on measures that they must take to tackle discrimination against those in the LGBT group. The contents covered a range of situations from discrimination in workplaces to when natural disasters hit.

Continue reading “Love Beyond Outsiders”

Power!

Playlist for the book Prospero’s Daughter.

  • Monster by Rihanna and Eminem

This song is relevant to Carlos and Caliban because they have Prospero’s voice stuck in their head.

Monster Link

  • Power Of the Empire – Empire cast

This song is relevant to Dr. Gardner because he seeks power.

Empire Link

  • Prisoner By Weekend feat. Lana Del Ray

This song is relevant to Carlos and Virginia love.

Prisoner Link

  • UnKiss me By Maroon 5

This song is relevant to Arianna and how she felt.

UnKiss Me Link

  • Wicked Ways By Eminem

This song is relevant to Dr. Gardner and how he used wicked ways to become powerful

Wicked Ways Link

  • Won’t Back Down By Eminem feat Pink

This song is relevant to Carlos as he fought for is right.

Won’t Back Down

  • Yes By Demi Lovato

This song is relevant to Carlos’s Mom.

Yes

  • You’re So Beautiful by Empire Cast

This song is relatable to how Carlos’s dad saw his wife beautiful.

You’re So Beautiful

  • Worthy By Jeremih feat. Jhene` Aiko

This song is relatable to Virginia and how she felt.

Worthy

  • Where Are U Now By Diplo and Justin Bieber and Skrillex

This song could be relatable to how Carlos and Arianna feel when they think of Arianna’s mother.

Where Are U Now

  • What is love By Empire Cast

This song could be representing how Carlos felt when he Arianna was meeting a suitor.

What is Love

  • Not Afraid By Eminem

This song is relatable to Inspector Mumford and Carlos. Its representing how Carlos took his stand and wanted Mumford to join him.

Not Afraid

  • No Pressure By Justin Bieber

This song is relatable to how the Fisherman felt about Arianna.

No Pressure

Links:

All links to songs are added under the songs.

Citation of Prospero’s Daughter

  • Nunez, Elizabeth. Prospero’s Daughter: A Novel. New York: Ballantine Books, 2006. Print.

Nature As Mirror

images-1

Remember
Joy Harjo, 1951

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

As part of National Poetry Month, I have been trying read or post a poem a day. When I encountered this poem, I couldn’t help but think of the works we have read in class this semester: Mother Nature by Emily Dickinson; The Last Man by Mary Shelly; and, Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez. As Joy Harjo has done, Dickinson, Shelly, and Nunez all personify nature in order to raise awareness about or strengthen our connection to the natural world. Nature, in these works, is seen as having both positive as well as less than noble characteristics similar to traits and flaws possessed by humans.

All of these authors have understood that humanity is not only one aspect of nature, but humanity is also dependent on the natural world for survival. Mankind is but one component of the ecosystem—it is not separate from this planet’s ecology. As Mary Shelley expressed, without man, nature will continue; however, without nature, mankind will disappear. Therefore, it is incumbent on us all to protect the very world that has given us a great deal of what may be extremely dear to us: clean air, water, sunshine, nourishment, shelter material, and familial bonds.

In their own way, these women want to remind us how all life that exists emerges from what is in existence and has already existed. Woven through these works, the awe-inspiring aspects of nature are described. Through the characters, the authors show how, first, nature seems to have an innate appeal—serves a primitive need in humans; and, secondly, temperamentally, man and nature mirror each other. All life appears to operate on both a balance and a spectrum. Dickinson introduces us to the unconditionally benign “gentlest mother” Nature. Shelley, on the other hand, begins with an authoritative veil by calling Nature “herself was only his first minister”; however, as the story progresses, Shelley depicts an unleashed, angry, and revengeful Nature who answers to no one. Finally, Nunez depicts a Nature oppressive to some but not to all—where some reject it while others embrace and welcome it as is. In all three works, we glimpse moments where Nature demonstrates its duality as well as our human powerlessness against its ferocity. And, in not so many words, this is what Joy Harjo is expressing in her poem, Remember. For Harjo, hubris has no place in this world as we are all one with nature. Man has the ability to provoke nature, but man cannot control it. Ultimately, man is but a small player in the universe.

 

“Remember” By Joy Harjo YouTube Video

“Remember” by Joy Harjo

Mother Nature by Emily Dickinson

Beauty of Nature (YouTube)

Nature’s Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters (AMNH)

 

M.I.A Born Free video Apocalypse and Genocide *Trigger Warning*

MIA_press_photo_2016M.I.A is one of my favorite music artists that are relevant in today’s world. There’s not much known about her especially in mainstream media because she isn’t exactly one of those artists that has the mind set of conforming her ideals and image into what people want to see or want her to be. There have been many controversies surrounding her and that’s probably one of the reasons why I look up to her because she is a rebel with a cause. M.I.A tries to spread the word of corruption in our world through her music and music videos. One of those music videos is for a single she released about seven years ago named “Born Free”. The music video doesn’t have many fans for a reason. My first initial reaction to the music video was that it was pretty disturbing and pretty graphic, but then when I started thinking more about, I see more disturbing things on my Facebook feed everyday. There are videos on my feed from Syria and terrorist attacks in Egypt, Paris, Boston, London, New York, Spain, Switzerland. There are mass shootings almost everyday and I have sat next to people on the trains and buses who are so high off their mind they cant even open their eyes or articulate a sentence. We witness oppression everyday whether it be our own or someone else but it is happening in our world right now, it is in our facebook, instagram, tumblr, and any other social media feed we use. We just choose what to make a big deal of and what we can brush under the carpet. When I start critically thinking about everything that’s going on in today’s world and what I see every five minutes on my news feed, the video seems like a fairy tale. Nothing has changed in this world it’s just a different era with different ways of communicating our message. M.I.A with the help of a french director named Romain Gavras through the “Born Free” music video is trying to reach out to the people who can take this video and understand that it can fit in any type of society and situation in the world. All the events going on at the moment is becoming the destruction of who we are. The human race hasn’t made any improvement in the morality department. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.   MTV NEWS ARTICLE

The Creature, and Caliban

When I was reading The Tempest, I could not find myself liking the protagonist, or most human characters for that matter. Perhaps it was biased, because I found Caliban to be quite pitiable, and strongly resemble my favorite character, the Creature from the TV-series, Penny Dreadful. Prospero sought revenge, and abused his magical power to enslave others to serve his own needs. His daughter, Miranda, despite her innocent depiction, raised no objections to the cruel treatment of Caliban.

Caliban is depicted as savage, and animal-like throughout the play. However, his “evil,” is most often stemmed from the manipulations by others. And in a sense, he is perhaps the most innocent character in the play; much like animals in the wild, as they are never truly evil.

“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow-creatures is amusing in itself.” – James Anthony Froude. Continue reading “The Creature, and Caliban”

The Shelley Prophecy

migranti-mare-2016

As a result of evolving international conflicts, the migrant crisis has been currently at the forefront of political discourse. Mary Shelley, in The Last Man, eerily predicted such a time in Western Europe. In The Last Man, readers are introduced to a migrant crisis caused by a plague. Although the plague manifests itself as a human disease, which decimates mankind, Shelley may also be implying that irresponsible stewardship on behalf of governments can become a plague which infects and erodes the political structure, which, in turn, creates instability within the nations. This instability becomes an impetus for many to leave their country of origin and relocate to another country. According to Mary Shelley, the burden rests on the government to protect those they govern. Failure to do so will cause chaos.

In The Last Man, upon the arrival of refugees in England, their presence causes a variety of issues. As the plague emerges we read, “Crowds of emigrants inundated the west of Europe; and our island had become the refuge of thousands…Many of the foreigners were utterly destitute; and their increasing numbers at length forbade a recourse to the usual modes of relief.” The desperateness of these refugees was evident, as “The crossing of the sea could not arrest their progress.” Nor did a vessel at sea suffering a shipwreck dissuade them. Furthermore, the migrants are vilified and we read that “their lawless spirit instigated them to violence;…” The migrants arrive and violently sweep throughout the country, burning and murdering, with plans to capture London. How did Mary Shelley foresee this migrant crisis? We can only surmise that Shelley, as an avid reader, learned to think critically about history, psychology, and scientific concepts. As the author of Frankenstein, we see that Shelley was a forward thinker and visionary. She was able to take all of the information available to her and predict what was possible for humanity given man’s nature. True to Shelley’s prediction of forced migration and refugees traveling to safer shores to escape danger, today the world is experiencing a migrant crisis of unprecedented proportions. Since 2013, millions of migrants and refugees, due to political unrest, war, and poverty, have been forced to flee their homelands. Forced to leave their homes in Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa, Libya, and Syria, many face a treacherous journey and must confront the dangers associated with the crossing of borders or traveling by sea. Issues plaguing their journey include human trafficking, rape, shipwreck, or refusal of entrance at the border. Once they have entered the host country, many refugees face other challenges. The refugees need services, homes, and employment. Refugees may be victims of violence and racism as well. Many host countries were not prepared for the deluge of immigrants they have received. Citizens of the host countries are concerned with lack of resources, violence, and the continual flood of immigrants. As a result, there has been an upheaval in many of these countries caused by racial tensions and fearful citizens calling for immigration reform. Citizens are mobilizing in order to prevent the usurpation of their culture and land by the foreigners entering their borders. Many of these citizens are now blaming their governments for the flood of immigrants into their communities; for poor decision-making and implementation; and, for the lack of foresight on behalf of their politicians. How this migrant crisis will resolve itself remains to be seen.

Mary Shelley’s Malthusian Objections In The Last Man

The EU And The Refugee Crisis

The Real Reason For The Mediterranean Migrant Crisis

Europe’s Refugee and Migrant Crisis In Numbers 2016

The Economic Impact of Forced Migration

Europe’s Migrant Crisis Explained–WSJ

10 EU Migrant Crisis Facts (Video)

Europe’s Migration Tragedy (Trigger Warner-Images May Be Graphic)

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑