Someone I know identifies more or less as “white”, as I understand it (getting it all second hand, I don’t want to ask him about it), which is more or less how he’s perceived in the country where he grew up. But in the country he now studies in he’s very much considered “black”.
Plainly there’s no coherent biological basis for racial labels. And yet people use words and even choose identities with the expectation we are to accept their own definitions for such things.
It might be helpful to me to take this no such thing as race idea as a mantra to avoid mistakes. It might avoid some stupider thoughts, e.g. on the less harmful side of the spectrum, “you like Iron Maiden? I wouldn’t have, er, uh, never mind, sorry.”
But on the other hand, I encounter people who self identify as a given “race” or will be identified so whether they like or not and that, unfortunately, goes along with experiences people of that “race” end up sharing which I, having a different “race”, have no experience or much understanding of. E.g. when a youth, no police ever held a shotgun to my head cause me and my freinds drove in a car and looked a little bit like five other guys the police were after. Likewise, was never at a heavy metal concert where skinheads punched me in the face out of the blue for no reason. I’ve worked with guys with each of these experiences. In an ideal world the experiences wouldn’t go with the messy, maybe nonsensical concepts and words, but in this world they do. Sometimes efficient communication requires commonly used words to be used, and language is not reasonable (maybe German is moreso than English).