Yes, Richard Bennett, there is such a thing as race.
How do I know? Because some of us check one box on govt forms and some check others. That might well be the only difference in some peoples' views of the world, but so long as the govt decrees that such differences exist and behaves accordingly, race will exist as a practical matter.
And isn't it interesting that, if you analyze various characteristics of populations of people who check one of these blanks vs those who check others, one reaches the kinds of conclusions discussed provocatively at Gene Expression and in books like "The Bell Curve".
Are these people checking the wrong boxes? Then the gaps observed should not exist - they should disappear into a fog of statistical noise. Thus although there may be no clear-cut genetic distinction between these groups (for which I fault genetics, not any inherent flaws with the way people choose the boxes), we've stumbled onto a classification that looks a lot like what is casually referred to as "race". Under such circumstances claiming that race doesn't exist is at best sophistry.
"Racist" and "racism" are epithets. Mr. Bennett's use of them in this context deserve no more respect than if he'd been writing of "niggers".