The obvious answer is (at one end of the spectrum) “yes,” and it’s equally clear that at the other end of the spectrum, some statements that mention race can be clearly and intentionally racist. For purposes of this question, I make this a given. I’m talking about the fuzzy area in the middle somewhere. Someone’s race might be included in a statement just by way of description, like you might say tall, red-haired, etc.
The thing that got me started thinking about this question is one piece of testimony from the O.J. Simpson trial. (Yeah, this has been on my mind for over 20 years.) This is from my memory of the original trial, which I watched every single day. I didn’t watch the TV show.
One witness near the scene of the crime at the time of the murders said he heard a man’s voice, and he was sure it was a black man.
Johnnie Cochran immediately leapt to his feet and cried, “That’s racist! You can’t tell someone’s race by their voice!” (Or words to that effect.)
But, in fact, some black men do have a way of speaking and a quality of voice that makes them readily identifiable as African-American. I don’t remember whether O.J. did/does, because I can’t recall ever hearing him speak. Some black men don’t. But some clearly do. It probably depends, like most accents and speech patterns, on where and around whom they grew up. I don’t know.
Now if the witness had said, “Yeah, I could tell that was a n—er-boy talking!” that would have been ugly, racist language, but it would have still been very relevant to the case to know whether the witness heard a white man or a black man arguing with Nicole Simpson moments before the murder (if that’s when this happened).
Johnnie Cochran was a showboat/grandstander (IOW a good defense attorney), but was this a racist statement? I don’t think so. I don’t recall how Judge Lance Ito ruled (he morphed into a bit of a showboat/grandstander himself).
I have some other examples in mind, but I’ll wait to get some comments first.