Still, one of the things that liberal people of color whisper to other liberal people of color when no one else is listening is that white liberals can be worse than white conservatives. Between the paternalism, the #whitesplaining and the refusal to accept that acknowledging racism and supporting civil rights does not mean that you have done the deeper structural and psychic work of disengaging from white supremacy, sometimes white liberal people who seem like friends turn out to be enemies. Or maybe frenemies.
Liberal political commitments do not make one’s race politics above reproach, because such arguments traffic in the fallacy that racism only happens if it is intentional.
But good white liberals have a long history of unintentional racism. I think of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the famed Moynihan Report that advanced the Tangle of Pathology thesis about the absence of black patriarchs and the dominance of black matriarchs. That report has done untold damage to black communities, but Moynihan, a liberal senator, meant well. The report was supposed to compel the creation of a broader social safety net and the creation of employment opportunities to help black families. But it mostly created a national narrative of black pathology.
Stellar intent doesn’t excuse shoddy execution.