My friend and fellow-doctoral student Greg Dueker posted this photo, with the following description:
|Is the Egret more guilty than we who stand idly by?|
“This bird looks innocent enough, like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. But he isn't ... I call him ‘Gecko-bane’ for he was hunting lizards with a vengeance. Saw him eat three in just a couple of minutes Thursday.”
It reminded me yet again of the terrible injustices facing our world, and prompted me to comment. Here is the result:
“GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR…YOUR GECKOS.”
There's a parallel here.
Just because we know that some geckos have succeeded in attaining high-paid corporate mascot positions, we must never forget that the vast majority of geckos continue in constant fear and substandard living conditions.
The perception that the extraordinary wealth of some within the gecko community should translate into a greater quality of life for all geckos does not bear close scrutiny. In fact, the mistaken assumption that all geckos even have the chance to attain to even basic educational opportunities should be as offensive and angering to all of us as it is to the nameless, faceless, and voiceless geckos we pass by every day.
There's no such thing as being Gecko-Blind. We simply refuse to acknowledge and act on what we clearly see.
In my reading and research, I am finding that there seems to be a mechanism behind racialization as just one of several ways in which we identify ourselves as being “not” someone or something else. This often includes scapegoating some presumed grouping of individuals or families unlike us, blaming some combination of injustices on them. But frequently it is a simply matter of lazy xenophobia. We are simply unwilling to expend the effort and invest the time necessary to meet, much less become acquainted with and come to understand those unlike “us.”
The labels we use vary, as do the groups we blame. But for most of us, when we become acquainted with individuals from within a particular population, we classify them as the exception to our stereotype. “You know, I never really think of you as being Geckish.” (You can substitute the stereotypical label of your choice.) It especially helps if they have a cute Aussie or Kiwi or Tasmanian accent (whichever it’s supposed to be), and even more so if they choose to walk upright on their hind legs, and are already clearly accepted by other affluently well-dressed Anglo males. But as acquainted as we may become with corporate spokes-geckos, until we’re willing to live among them, under the sharp eye of the Snowy Egrets ready to devour them, we aren’t really in a position to claim any knowledge at all of being Geckish.