Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O'Donnell got into a passionate debate on the subject of racism in America this past week. Goldberg has a point by saying that ignorance does not necessarily equate hate but O'Donnell and Perez argue that ignorance sparks discrimination, whether it be maliciously intended or not.
On a semantic level, I agree with Goldberg that discrimination does not equal racism in that most people are not knowingly and purposefully discriminatory. Stereotypes have led society to make instant judgement calls on a person's perceived status. Where I agree with Perez and O'Donnell is in the simple fact that stereotypes are bullshit.
I doubt many people would readily admit to hating an entire specific group group of people based on gender, race, sexuality, or religion, yet society has led us to make snap judgements of a person's qualities and status based on stereotypes.
So while I will agree with Goldberg that America is not an inherently racist society, I will agree with O'Donnell and Perez that prejudice, whether intentional or not, is a huge problem, not only in America but everywhere.