Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Critical Thought Tuesday: Ignorant vrs. Naïve

I would like to address the difference between naïveté and ignorance.  Though they have similar denotation, their connotations are different.  I think there is a difference and this is how I distinguish the two...

Naïve – Is the term I use to describe someone who may have never been exposed to something or never had the opportunity to learn about it. It is not their fault and noone chooses to be naïve

Poster created by Felicia Follum in response to the described situation.  Read more.
For example when I moved to Wyoming and people found out I had a boyfriend about one person a day asked if he was white or black before asking about him or any other question. As I later learned when people don’t know how to place you into a schema, they sometimes ask what may weird or naïve questions (though I was not offended, many people would have been). These questions are so that they can understand something they have not been exposed to.

Ignorant – is a term I use to describe someone who is presented with an idea and chooses to blatantly ignore it. Oftentimes showing contempt or anger. This is typically more of a choice. Once someone is offered the chance to become aware or educated, but they reject it without showing any thought, remorse, or confusion in the response to cognitive dissonance.

The person above would be naïve, just trying to figure something that is new to them out where as the ignorant person may respond with “good, I am glad he is white” and yes this did happen.

Another difference is that between being respectful and blatantly rude, whether it is an un-acceptance to realize that people have different beliefs or using terms that everyone knows are offensive. The distinction become a bit cloudy, for example old people tend to be naïve rather than ignorant.  However, I do think that there is a distinction, that goes beyond someone disagrees so they are ignorant.  It has little to do with opinions, and more to do with how we express, form and process opinions.

I wanted to share how I use these terms and what I mean when I use them.  Are you intentional when you use these words?  How do you distinguish between the two?  Is there a difference at all?

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