As you’d expect, the only part of what you wrote here that I disagree with is the last paragraph. I don’t think people will have trouble understanding the concept of “race” even if it is relegated to a purely historical idea, just as people don’t have too much trouble understanding the concept of “slavery” even if it doesn’t exist here anymore. On your point about the relationship between identity politics and the formation of a broader unity of interest among all members of the poor and working classes, regardless of race, just one additional point I’d note is Max Weber’s notion of “status groups,” which he came up with as one objection to Marx’s belief that the proletariat would soon become the universal class and initiate the revolution, etc. Weber argued that, in reality, there are many status groups — things such as religious affiliation, political party and, yes, ethnicity and race — that lead people to form allegiances across classes but that stand in the way of any purely class-based movement spanning all of society. Weber proved to be more prescient than Marx in this regard. Sometimes it would be better for all our sakes, however, if we could put our status groups aside to get some big issues dealt with, and unfortunately, we’re moving in the exact opposite direction.
Anyway, I agree with you that this has been a fruitful discussion in which we’ve both managed to find some points of agreement and see beyond the kinds of crude binaries into which some of these kinds of discussions get routed all too often. You’re obviously a well-read, open-minded and reflective person (and I pride myself on aspiring towards that same goal), and so both of our views may evolve over time ….