The more I think about it the more I realise Ta-Nehsi Coates is into something. White is probably as loaded as the n-word. My reasoning below:
Before 1492 Europe had some but limited contact with other civilisations (Marco Polo, Greco-Roman antiquity, trade) therefore there wasn’t a sense of definition. Since the Old Word, for the most part, is racially continuous the ethnic distinctions are for the most part slight. Most Greeks are lighter-skinned than most Turks but it’s a stretch to call the former white and the latter not. Everyone blends into one another, not excacy but even so just enough to make for hazy lines.
After 1492 when Europeans encounter another civilisations entities and meets/imports them into the New World; new racial terms are required. Turk & Christian aren’t enough because slaves could be either faith.
So the term white arose in a milieu of European domination (Europe may have initially sought out the world to trade but eventually like all cultures it turned to domination).
In this sense white turns out to be ethnic dominator labels like Turk or Arab (most Muslims in the Indian East trace their ancestry, whether real or fictitious, to either of these groups never to Persians as an example). However since one drop rule didn’t really exist anywhere else (Arabs have huge dollops of SSA ancestry making them descendants of both slaves & slave-holders) it makes white a very loaded term and a holdover of half a millennia of domination.
The ancient Greeks & Romans blended into their populations; do we have any unadulterated relics of their colonies to the existing day? Such stark racial terms (black, white etc) ellide the common truth that Humanity is One and that humans have always commingled & co-existed with one another, one-drop rule is the exception as opposed to the rule.
Again I could be wrong but most of human history is myth and if we have the right myths, maybe we could evolve in a better direction?