I, Ajax: White and Whiteness.
Once Upon A Time,
In a land far, far away,
A couple of white guys once had a conversation, within earshot of many, e.g. more than a few, black guys. We were part of a class at an unconventional school, and in some ways, the teachers were not the very best. It was the Midwest, we were young, and all of us rather detested them. On this day these guys said so, but using a regrettable phrase. There are many variants of the colloquial expression they employed. The convicts are running the jail, the inmates are running the asylum. Yet a third goes, The monkeys are running the zoo. Our Caucasian subjects chose the latter, a choice they would soon live to regret.
No sooner had these words been spoken, which I do believe the white guys did not mean in the context in which it was taken, then began a great hullabaloo. Suddenly, a vast and angry crowd, a Million Man March cast in miniature, surrounded these two hapless white guys, whose attitudes were challenged roughly. Their receptiveness was not an issue, though experts might have sworn they were terrified.
There was no violence, nor direct verbal threat of violence, but white and whiteness quickly became the dialogical focus. As a white guy present in the place, I was able neither to grab the popcorn nor escape to outer space, and edifying conversation made mincemeat of my freedom of choice. My awareness had been raised like the scrubbing of a sink, and thus I, Ajax, walked away enhanced and undiminished.