Some of those vulnerabilities can be distilled into pointed questions. What does a program of school desegregation look like in a country where white kids are a downward-trending minority in the public school system? Can an anti-racist liberalism maintain a system of affirmative action that obviously discriminates against the country’s fastest-growing minority group, Asian-Americans, in order to achieve its goals of ethnic balance? Can unwieldy academic categories — “Latinx” for a diverse Spanish-speaking population that evinces little interest in the term, “BIPOC” for everyone from Native Americans to Pakistani immigrants to the millions of children of interracial marriages — create durable political identities that subsume wildly divergent ethnic experiences? What happens to the votes of American Jews in a political left that increasingly regards them as a privileged cohort rather than as an oppressed one?
And finally, is it really possible to sustain an anti-racist political coalition whose most important white participants, the members of the intelligentsia and professional classes, are the institutional and often lineal heirs of the pre-1960s white Protestant establishment? By any reasonable measure, this inheritance means that the white liberals most invested in anti-racism have more white privilege themselves than the heirs of rural fundamentalists and immigrant Catholics who currently vote for Trump. Political coalitions need an out-group, an antagonist, but what happens when the coalition’s internal logic makes one of its inmost in-groups an enemy as well?
The theoreticians of anti-racism have answers to these questions, but many of those answers promise to save their theories rather than their political project.