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LETTERS

Antiracists are not racist — ‘neo’ or otherwise

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Color-blindness has its uses, but injustices persist

Re “Color-blindness remains the best form of antiracism” by Coleman Hughes (Ideas, Feb. 4): It is not a stereotype that Black Americans have shorter lives, worse health, and less wealth than any other group. It is not a social construct that Black people are disproportionately put in jail, killed by police, or suspended from school.

These are facts.

Being colorblind may help us dismantle our stereotypes on an interpersonal level. But antiracism asks us to go deeper, to see how the social construct of race has shaped every aspect of our society, and to take action to make the system more just.

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Yes, emphasize our common humanity when building relationships. Just don’t stop there.

Colin Stokes

Brookline

The author is a facilitator with the group White People Challenging Racism.


‘Whiteness’ and ‘Blackness’ are discussion starters, not labels

Coleman Hughes’s “Color-blindness remains the best form of antiracism” misrepresents the work of racial justice advocates Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin DiAngelo, and Ibram X. Kendi. Characterizing them as “neoracists” is plain wrong. When writers and scholars use terms like “whiteness” and “Blackness,” they are not doing so as a means to restrict a person to one category or the other but rather as a theoretical lens through which one can analyze society and find ways to develop empathy with those who historically have been marginalized. These advocates are not suggesting that people be viewed as a simple stereotype based on physical appearance and live a life dictated by that; rather, they are arguing that people be treated and respected as individuals, which is exactly what Hughes argues. How he overlooks this is puzzling to me.

Coates, DiAngelo, and Kendi are anything but neoracists. They’re antiracists.

Sean O’Connell

Stoughton