Within Tim’s 5 minute podcast he speaks on the power of the term “white” as we know it in North America today. Tim speaks on the idea that before colonialism in the Americas, European people were not united as one race, but rather saw difference in their nationalism. In order to manipulate poor Europeans in North America, specifically in the United States to fight for slavery, affluent Europeans convinced poor Europeans that they were all on “one team” which was anti-black and pro slavery. Tim goes on to talk about the benefit that poor white people probably would have had if they had resisted slavery and instead would have held those jobs as paid labour.
Before listening to both this podcast and Angela Davis’ speech on International Women’s Day, I took whiteness for granted. It was hard for me to understand whiteness to be socially constructed as I thought skin colour could be obviously seen and therefore white people must have always been on a “team”. This story of affluence manipulating the lower class, not just in the past but today with Donald Trump campaigning to working class people has given me reason to pause and look at my own whiteness. If it wasn’t for this social construction, maybe I would not be categorized as white? My own great-grandparents were refugees, would I face the same luxuries today if they were refugees from Syria?