We can parse the technicalities of exactly what someone did or didn’t say, but to me the bigger issue is what many people will hear.
This arises often with many anti-evolution origins ministries. They constantly tell the public, “Darwin was a terrible racist.” and “The Theory of Evolution is utterly racist and brought the ruthless oppression of Australia’s aboriginal peoples and the horrors of the Holocaust.” So, what do many of their followers hear? They hear: “Evolutionary biologists promote a dangerous lie which justifies racist horrors.” How much difference is there between “Evolutionary scientists are enthusiastically devoting their professional careers to working full-time to promote a dangerous, Satanic, racist lie” and “Evolutionary scientists are racists.”? Does that difference really matter all that much?
This also brings to mind Ken Ham saying that he has never claimed that evolution-affirming Christians can’t be true Christians. I’ve heard him and various other YEC leaders absolve themselves of that charge, and then two minutes later in the same presentation they will say things like “Those who affirm the Theory of Evolution are aiding and abetting God’s enemies” and “Evolution doctrine is an evil rebellion against God and the truth of His Holy Word, the Bible. The evolution lie was authored by Satan himself and comes from the pit of hell.” So, if I’m allegedly working to assist the enemies of God and I’m allegedly affirming hellishly vile lies authored by Satan, does it really sound like anyone is acknowledging that I’m a True Christian™?
The whole “Idea X must be avoided because it sounds racist” smacks of the Guilt by Association fallacy and even the Genetic Fallacy. Answers in Genesis plays the race card logic fallacy on a daily basis in trying to taint evolutionary biology (and anybody who affirms the science) with every possible evil which can somehow be tied to it, even if it requires considerable exaggeration and downright fabrication. It is such a tiresome tactic that I’m amazed that presumably wiser heads at other organizations have any desire to recycle the tactic.
Should we avoid talk of relativity theory and universal gravitation because the physics was essential to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (And is that physics dangerously “racist” because so much of American attitudes towards the Japanese—and even American citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII—was sickeningly racist?)
Again, it is not just a matter of what various authorities say. I’m concerned about what many of their readers and followers will hear and assume.
I’m reminded of some people’s response to the “Black lives matter” protests. Some said, “No! That’s racist. ALL lives matter!” They entirely missed the point of the “Black lives matter” protests. Some even managed to think themselves morally superior because they were supposedly “rising above racism” with their smugly “profound” and “inclusive” response: “All lives matter!” (As someone already observed in this thread, accusations of racism often tell us more about the accuser than the accused.)
Meanwhile, is virtually everyone who affirms Common Descent vulnerable to racist accusations simply because there was some generation in the ancient past which had human characteristics in greater measure than the previous generation which lived contemporaneously alongside it in the same tribal community? Indeed, were their parents’ and grandparents’ generations thereby “sub-human”? Does that make Common Descent “racist”?