"Tell the Wolves I'm Home" Ideagram
By: Carol Rifka Brunt
Central Question: To what extent can prejudice be overcome?
Paragraph: ability for society to overcome prejudice
quotes: directly from book
quote 1: “It's hard to do that, to decide to believe one thing over another.”
"Tell the Wolves I'm Home" By Carol Rifka Brunt Page: 30To me, this quote addresses the issue of people always having their own beliefs. Your beliefs are dependent on a countless number of things from how you are raised, your environment, to personal experiences, and people around you. In the case of homophobia and prejudice in general, this relates to how people will always have a difference of opinion, and that it is very difficult for society as a whole to fit into the same mould of beliefs. These differences in beliefs are the largest obstacle in overcoming prejudice, but are unavoidable because to make humans all believe in a single thing would take away all other types of valuable diversity. Brainwashing everyone to think the same thing would be just as unethical as promoting prejudice against a certain group. We have to sacrifice total equality to protect the individuality that makes us unique.
quote 2: “They segued into a more general piece about AIDS. As usual, they started out with footage of some kind of sweaty nightclub in the city with a bunch of gay men dancing around in stupid leather outfits. I couldn't even begin to imagine Finn dancing the night away like some kind of half-dressed cowboy. It would have been nice if for once they show some guys sitting in their living rooms drinking tea and talking about art or movies or something. If they showed that, then maybe people would say, 'Oh, okay, that's not so strange.' "
"Tell the Wolves I'm Home" By Carol Rifka Brunt Page: 137This quote displays the stereotyping of homosexuals at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. These broadcast stereotypes fuelled the prejudices against gay men, and gave them a generally negative, less-than-human image. While the argument could be made that these attitudes haven't been predominant in society for decades, there are without question still negative stereotypes about members of the LGBTQ community. Since is has taken up until now for many United States to even begin legalizing same-sex marriage makes me think it will be far longer still before it is legalized globally. Beyond America, there are still countries in Africa and other nations that have anti-gay laws, and we can't begin to make advances in these places without first making them locally. For that reason also, it will not be any time soon that homosexuality is globally accepted.
quote 3: "I needed to know that my mother understood that her hand was in this too. That all the jealousy and envy and shame we carried was our own kind of sickness. As much a disease as Toby and Finn’s AIDS.”
At this part of the novel, June has a major turning point where she refers to Finn and Toby's AIDS as the disease, and not their homosexuality. The first step to overcoming prejudice is to not look at people and try to group them based on generalizations, but to look at them as whole individuals. June realizes that every person is flawed, and that Finn and Toby's biggest flaw wasn't that they were gay, but that they happened to be dying. She moves past her issues with Finn and Toby and sees just how flawed she and her own family are, and I think that is crucial in overcoming prejudices, especially those imposed on you in your upbringing - we are not above anybody, and for every flaw someone has, we have just as many if not more.
quotes: alternate sources
Quote 1: " 'They didn't approve of your aunt.' 'Why not?' 'She lived with another woman. For many years.' 'Franny,' I said. 'She lived with Franny.' 'You remember?' 'Yes. A little. Not much. She was nice. She had green eyes. She liked to sing.' 'They were lovers, Ari.' I nodded. 'Okay,' I said. 'Does that bother you?' 'No.' "
This quote gives me a lot of hope that prejudices can be overcome by younger generations in particular. The character being told his aunt was homosexual, Aristotle, is immediately accepting and just sees people without the labels. This is in part due to his open-minded family and his own sexual orientation, but above all I believe this openness is caused by the younger generations becoming increasingly accepting and open-minded. As new customs, laws, and traditions root their way in modern society, it will be the younger members making sure that acceptance is wide and equal. Online movements are allowing the globalization of anti-homophobia movements, and are being headed by the younger generation. As we raise every new child into this world, people that have the openness of June in "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" and Aristotle in "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" will be making more of a difference each day.
quote 2: "The Catholic Medical Association believes that sexual orientation is not determined by a 'gay gene' and that 'same-sex attraction is preventable.' "
The fact that this statement is no longer generally accepted as true provides a ray of hope, although it is slightly clouded by those who remain having these beliefs. In addition, the amount of time and energy that is being invested in science to prove that sexual orientation is determined by genetics shows a lot. Not only are there several movements on the social side trying to make advances, but there is now solid science backing the views of members of the LGBT community. 40 years ago, we wouldn't have had people willing to commit time and money to try and figure out something like that, but now there is constantly new evidence being shown from scientific studies and research that homosexuals cannot change, and that it is not to be treated like something that is a choice any more than whether or not you have brown hair.
quote 3: "During the 1950's, several people involved in the developing gay and lesbian communities began to envision a broader purpose for uniting that went beyond social networking. They compared the subjugated position of homosexuals to that of racial and economic minorities around them, and took inspiration from groups that were organizing to fight the prejudices and discrimination they experienced. These leaders, devoted their lives to organizing gays and lesbians to work collectively and improve the lot of all homosexuals. They insisted that gays and lesbians are a distinct population of oppressed people who need a civil rights movement of their own."
This quote provides a very strong argument for the positive advances that can be made towards eradicating homophobia. However, the fact that such movements as these were temporarily stopped because of the AIDS epidemic also shows how easy it is for old prejudices to return when people are afraid. It is easier for people to revert back to their old ways of thinking, and every time something negative happens people are very quick to take the easier way of thinking and following the main stream. There were some successes from the movements of the 50's, such as homosexuals being viewed as a repressed population, just as much as African-Americans. On the other hand, a large portion of the movement was shut down by people's fear, and that led to an ultimate failure to make continued advances with the same string of activist movements. This history of a lack of consistency with progress being made also makes me sceptical of any immediate, dramatic action against homophobia.