I’ve been thinking about how to illustrate this concept, Sam, because it seems to confuse some people who are so immersed in constructs of whiteness, blackness, and brownness that they don’t understand how anything could be otherwise.
Historically, we have the Roman Empire to look to. The Romans had no concept of whiteness. It meant nothing to them. They only had Roman-ness. I’m not holding them up as moral paragons in any sense. They had serious problems othering and mistreating people they didn’t see as Romans.
But to BE Roman had nothing at all to do with any construct of race. To explain what I mean, several Roman emperors and countless high ranking Romans from the mid Empire period forward were dark skinned, but we have a problem knowing how many, because contemporary sources never mentioned it.
Nor did they mention light skin either, obviously, not even in the case of the Gauls, who HAD very light skin. Instead, sources talked about how the Gauls braided their hair, or about how they had blue tattoos and drank a vile brew made from barley instead of drinking wine.
Nobody was white, and even though the ancient Mediterranean world boasted a wide variety of people with different skin colors, nobody living then ever talked about it.
Whiteness is OUR invention. It’s something new under the sun. It’s designed to uphold the supremacy of an elite ruling class at the top of an elite group of people whose ancestors come from particular places in the western part of the Eurasian continent.
Whiteness has to go. It’s fundamentally inhumane.