On Facebook, I posted some thoughts on the question of ignorance vs. malice. This led to the following discussions with Facebook friends.
Unlike sticks and stones, racism doesn't hurt anybody? But protesting racism hurts the racists' feelings and thus "stirs hatred" between people? Discuss.
What matters is how your actions affect others. Whatever motivates you in your little mind is a decidedly secondary issue.
We can try educating the ignorant gently rather than harshly. But not educating them because it might hurt their feelings isn't an option.
A couple of centuries ago, a white man could "legitimately" argue that shooting an Indian or a Negro was like shooting a wild animal. Was that ignorant or malicious racism, and did it matter to the person shot?
The point is that what's in his mind doesn't excuse what he did. Whether he shot someone because of ignorance or malice, the victim was dead and he was a racist.
As they say, ignorance (of the law) is no excuse. If you didn't think cheating on your taxes or hitting your spouse was a crime, you're still guilty of it.
If you live in a society with other people, it's at least half your responsibility to learn the rules. You don't go around spitting on people, calling them the n-word, or wearing their headdresses.
Don't start crying about your ignorance when people point out your mistakes. Educate yourself or we'll do it for you.
I vote for "ignorantly malicious racism." Or maybe "maliciously ignorant." You get my point.
Ask Ian Birk.
Victim to oppressor: "So you don't hate me? You're just profoundly indifferent to whether I exist or not? Gee, thanks for clearing that up. I'm so glad to hear there's no malice in your heart."
For more on the subject, see Hipster Racism.