In a recent essay for the New York Times Magazine, Lisa Belkin wrote about the evolution of the lens through which we view the history of race in the United States, which changes over time based on how painful or traumatic moments are perceived by each generation.

Ms. Belkin argues that there is still room for improvement — though she approves of the work of many young writers and artists (Eve Ensler, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Annette Gordon-Reed, Roxane Gay, Rana Florida) in pushing toward a clearer and more nuanced understanding of how race has shaped people’s identities, including her own.

Ms. Belkin argues for black artists to be more willing to include more female voices in their own narratives (her collection, “Color Runs Deep: Stories From an African-American Woman’s Viewpoint,” focuses in part on black women and was published last year by The New Press).

Most strongly, Ms. Belkin urges white people to use the lens they have created, to look at black history in historical context, beyond a narrow view of the past from a privileged point of view.

Read Ms. Belkin’s full essay here.