I think there are two very different ways of talking about race and racism which frequently get conflated, and I think this confusion is responsible for a lot of wasted energy in various online debates. The same goes for discussions about gender and sexism. On the one hand we have a moralistic view of racism/sexism. This view seems more likely to be held by people who are decrying accusations of racism/sexism than by those who try to call attention to them, but not exclusively. Those who call out racism/sexism, on the other hand, are more likely to be talking about race/gender as technologies of power which work to systematically marginalize certain voices (and certain lives) than they are to be accusing anyone in particular of being immoral.
Because the operations of this technology work in part by denying their own existence, it is important for those who feel its harm to call it out and bring attention to it. In doing so they are not trying to reduce everything to race (or gender), nor are they trying to say it is necessarily the most important aspect of a discussion, but often quite simply to make the invisible visible so it can be discussed openly.
This is why it is so frustrating for those who seek to make this discussion possible to then have their efforts attacked from the so-called “left” who claim that moralizing about racism (or sexism) is hurting the movement. I won’t deny that such moralizing doesn’t happen, but I think it is largely besides the point. The utility of racism (and sexism) as concepts does not lie in their ability to assign moral blame, but in their ability to expose invisible technologies of power so that their effects can be part of the discussion. To then silence these discussions by conveniently finding some moralists to excoriate thus perpetuates the problem.
Another mode of silencing is to accuse those attempting to highlight these technologies of reductionism, or of ignoring the “root” economic causes which underly all our social ills. Again, it is always possible to find some examples of such reductionism in order to dismiss the whole project. After all, what political project doesn’t have its share of fools who can be conveniently held up for mockery by opponents? But shouldn’t we look to those who best articulate the ideas underlying a project to evaluate its worth? When we do this (look to the best arguments, not the worst) I think such charges of reductionism evaporate, leaving behind only the residue of the very racism (and sexism) which sought to silence these voices in the first place.