General Question

pleiades's avatar

What is the term to describe this type of ignorance?

Asked by pleiades (6584points) August 31st, 2014

Here is the example…

“I don’t care that Michael Sam is gay, I only care if he can be a great player as a football player.”

The term is one that ignores Michael Sam’s social relevance, and calls for his direct skill to his job as the single most importance thus erasing his identity.

I can’t think of the term.

Another example would be a white person saying, “Oh man when I hang out with you I don’t see your skin color, I don’t see a Mexican person, just who you are as a human.”

In this situation the said importance is of character while not acknowledging the persons actual being.

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21 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

It’s not ignorance. It’s getting rid of unrelated factors in evaluating people. To put it in simpler terms, it’s lack of prejudice.

Michael Sam’s ability as a football player has absolutely nothing to do with his sexual orientation.

And in your second example, being a Mexican is NOT “the persons actual being.” Their humanity IS!

gailcalled's avatar

Selective acceptance. We do it all the time.

Everyone has an ethnicity (even if it’s white, like me), a country of origin or ancestral roots (Lithuania, Poland, Russia and NYS for me), a set of skills, a large set of lack of skills (I am not a great football player or opera singer), and dozens of other traits. We love some of them, tolerate some of them, ignore a few, and possibly actively dislike one or two.

Being gay is not a defining social relevance.

jca's avatar

I don’t think the word “ignorance” is accurate here.

Pachy's avatar

Hypocrisy – a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess; a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@pleiades – I disagree. You’re sort of suggesting that the team that cut him yesterday should have overlooked that he didn’t play as well as others, and kept him because he was gay.

That’s an example of insidious discrimination – but in the wrong way. It suggests that his sexual orientation in some way qualified to him to stay on a football team where others were better players. (Frankly, that’s the arguments that the anti-affirmative-action people have used in court – and won with)

Football (and any sport, for that matter) is about doing what’s physically necessary to win games. In the opinion of his coaches, Sam doesn’t have it yet. He might with the next team – who knows? But he shouldn’t be on the team unless in the opinion of his coaches, he can help them win.

Side note – I have no doubt that another team will pick him up.

osoraro's avatar

This analogy is flawed, but I kind of liken it to when Ichiro broke into the majors. Before Ichiro, there were very few Japanese position players (several pitchers). People made a big deal of his being Japanese, and wondered if a Japanese player could make it in the majors. He did, became one of the greatest players of the decade, and now Japanese position players are common.

ucme's avatar

How is this in any way ignorant?
What it’s saying is that a person is cutting through all the bullshit & viewing someone in their own right, as an individual.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


The victimculture crowd isn’t interested in an end to the prejudice against them. An end would mean the vanishing of their leverage against the rest of us. Concepts such as “friendly ignorance” serve as proof.

Maybe if I were to say that I am only concerned with an individual’s performance in a particular area it is because is all that is relevant in the context.

The workplace, for example, is for WORK. Not the details of your or my sexuality. Case closed.

My interest in individuals, as individuals, is sincere. No amount of criticism from the “social justice” set can convince me otherwise. Their “prejudice: you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t” mentality will not work on me.

Jesus Freaking Christ.

GA @ucme

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

This question is worded oddly to me and I am having a hard time deciphering what specific type of term you are looking for. I feel like there is a broad range of interpretation here, based on the word ‘ignorance’, that does not apply to your original question. I think the word ‘ignorance’ here is misused. Unless someone has already answered the question can you be a little bit more specific?

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

Actually, I just re-read the question and upon noticing your tag “friendly ignorance”, the whole question somehow makes more sense to me. Non-prejudiced I think is an appropriate response. It seems you may be looking for some sort of synonym of this idea…

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

Impartiality? Unbiased? Objective? Non-subjective? Tolerant? Indifference? Equity? Indiscriminate?

flo's avatar

That is the opposite of ignorance, and/or prejudice, povided it is not just words but also supported by action.

pleiades's avatar

Sorry to upset some people here…

I disagree with people who are saying its the opposite of ignorance… I think a persons color comes with their identity. To say one doesn’t see other peoples colors, or sexual orientation it’s kind of degrading. It’s one person saying I’m more comfortable with erasing your obvious identity with how I want to see another, and for a person of color their identity is in fact important to them, but mainstream America, corporatism teaches us that our work and skill set is what is most important.

I’m still looking for the term by the way :) @gailcalled is pretty close to what I’m describing.

Also @zenvelo I’m coming from a respectful rebuttal here but I believe the fact that they are Mexican is part of their humanity and shouldn’t be discredited and it’s not for anyone else really to decide what’s important but that certain individual who is indeed Mexican.

If you’re not up to watching a 30 minute video start at 21 minutes

Also I’m in between this video

One side of me is saying, there’s nothing wrong with asking and being curious but another side is saying SO TRUE. (But I’ve been mostly the guy in the video all my life can you tell me why it’s 100% a bad idea to ask? Or is it more of his gestures here that is the problem?)

KNOWITALL's avatar

Details that one can’t control like skin color or sexuality, aren’t worthy of judgement like personality,actions & words

zenvelo's avatar

@pleiades just so you know, I am half Mexican but I don’t look it. Should that circumscribe my life and my dealing with everyone? Excuse my language, but what the fuck does that have to do with how I am treated or evaluated?

Are yo u going to start looking at my answers to see if I gave a good Mexican answer? Or give me a GA every time you can because I am rising above my station?

Your whole premise is downright bigoted. And, if done in the workplace is illegal! Cultural sensitivity is different from you imposing a structure basis for people. You don’t get to define someone else, each person gets to define them selves!

jca's avatar

I am also half Mexican (those who know me on FB know my last name to be a Hispanic one) and I can assure you I am whiter than white. I have heard many insulting things about Mexicans and people fall on the floor when I tell them my father is from Guadalajara. Mexican heritage has nothing to do with my outlook or behavior. I am confused by your opinion, @pleiades.

pleiades's avatar

@jca @zenvelo

I’m speaking in the sense that yes, some people don’t care about their “cultural heritage” I get that. I’m half Filipino other half is Anglo American. For the longest time I could care less about my Filipino culture because well, I mainly grew up on American traditions. But I still saw how my aunties and uncles brought some traditions over here with them. I’m not saying at all, to judge a person by their skin color. I’m saying, we should in fact acknowledge someones identity if at all. In other words, I believe it’s stupid to say, I don’t see your skin color because the notion with that is, “I want to see you how I’m most comfortable.” When in fact most people arguably care about their own identity and well being, myself included now. It’s not a, “Oh look I’m part Filipino! Filipino Pride whoop whoop thing.” It’s more of a gesture of acknowledgement.

I think people are thinking I’m saying acknowewling someones identity through their color is disrespectful or has a negative stigma to it, when I think it’s the opposite and can cause for a greater human experience when put on the back burner. I’m not saying a persons skin color should be at the forefront of every interaction, I’m saying, don’t tell others that you don’t see them as a gay man, or a person of color, or a white man. Let their identity stand because for some it may be extremely important. Yes I understand fully in the work place none of this matters, but don’t strip the flavor from society as well.


I think her examples translate what I’m saying much more openly and freely. For some reason every time I have an opinion here it comes off as absolute with no room budging but I used to exactly think on most peoples sides of the argument here, “that peoples skin color doesn’t matter” After watching this video it changed my out look. I could still not be racist but still acknowledge someones identity and it doesn’t mean I have to judge them solely on that as well.

Trust me I’m not angry here and I’m not trying to push anyones buttons! Please let me know your opinion after watching this video! It changed my mind for sure. And hey if you don’t agree with what’s explained in the video I completely respect that 100% !!

LostInParadise's avatar

I understand your point. It is a bit of a balancing act. On the one hand we should acknowledge a person’s heritage and take an interest in how it might have contributed to who the person is. On the other hand, a person’s heritage should not be made into a stereotype that ignores all the other facets of a person.

I do think that sometimes people go to extreme lengths to try to cover up differences. If someone is looking for Joe and Joe happens to be the only black person in the room, it is okay to say that Joe is the black man speaking in the corner. That does not show prejudice any more than if we pointed someone out by describing the person as being blond or being tall.

flo's avatar

@pleiades When would a person say that? Give me an example. Is it usually as a response to an accusation of act of prejudice, or discrimination, or something like that right? No one would just say that out of the blue. The person who says that is being kind of defensive maybe? Anyway saying it proves nothing. The person could be perfectly racist etc.
“I don’t see your skin color”

“Oh man when I hang out with you I don’t see your skin color, I don’t see a Mexican person, just who you are as a human.”

flo's avatar

As an aside, sexuality isn’t like skin color or ethnicity at all, because people can and do decide to abstain, reverse the abstinence, become bi-sexual or not, and on and on and on and on. You can’t change your skin color or ethnicity.

flo's avatar

“I don’t care that Michael Sam is gay, I only care if he can be a great player as a football player.” says: What does his sexual activity have to do me (team coach, manager, team owner, ...)? Why are you bringing it up to me? Perfectly logical. No ignorance at all.

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