In the meaningful book “Is Everyone Really Equal”, the authors point out that focusing on this false binary instead of on racism as an all-encompassing system interferes with the necessary personal, interpersonal, cultural, historical and structural analysis that is needed to challenge it.
Americans are taught to focus attention on individual racist acting out (individual horrid acts by “bad” people) and to believe if we don’t think, do or say such awful stuff then race/racism isn’t our problem. While individual racist acts of emotionally disturbed white people are deplorable, they are not the core issue with race in U.S. society.
Think of the phenomenal cognitive and emotional distorting of understanding and comprehension involved for members of a group (the group raced as "white") that historically engaged in genocide and land theft from Native Americans and in the human enslavement of kidnapped Africans to be able to manage to perceive themselves (white people) to be not only innocent, but, indeed, good and supporters of "equality and liberty and justice for all". That's beyond ridiculous.
Think of the massive self-deluding necessary for the ancestors of such criminals, who benefit from past and current domination and harm (healthcare disparities, housing discrimination, educational disparities, criminal justice discrimination, disparities in job acquisition and pay and on and on) to marginalized groups, to perceive themselves with such incredible unfounded regard that they believe themselves and their nation to be "exceptional" and admirable.
The depth and breadth of the disregard for reality is astonishing. And yet...this is "reality" for most white Americans.
I participated in this fantasy for decades and continue to struggle to extract myself from such distorting. We are incessantly encouraged to remain unaware and oblivious. And most of us succumb to this tide of unreality. We're rewarded for embracing distortion and penalized and even punished for seeking truth and reality.
And we wonder how we end up with the "leaders" we have?