Jonathan M. Metzl’s April 30 op-ed, “We need to talk about American whiteness,” used yet another woeful incident of racial discord as an opportunity for healing. This research psychiatrist’s prescription of open, reflective, neighborly dialogue to mediate the “politics of resentment” that white privilege generates is a process for learning and living together in our increasingly crowded, interdependent world.

However, with respect, I challenge Mr. Metzl that organizational efforts “among groups with common socioeconomic interests (rather than identities) are more successful in achieving shared objectives.” In my research and lived experience, there is little daylight between interests and identities. They are constantly interacting, overlapping and shifting. To serve us for the moment or the long haul, we activate single or multiple identities. Our identity-based interests are what constitute our diversity. We fail to recognize these interests without equitable government and civil society institutions — not to mention gatherings at Politics and Prose and other privately operated venues.

Deborah L. Trent, Kensington

The writer is founder of Civil Strategies, which consults on international diplomacy, development, diaspora engagement and partnerships.

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