Following a litany of racist and anti-Semitic outbreaks in Italy, a recent survey disclosed that about half of the sampled population believes that racist acts are sometimes, or even always, justifiable. To what extent individual citizens and politicians, in XXI century Italy as in the rest of the Western world, are morally responsible for expressing racist remarks or endorsing racist acts? The literature on moral responsibility has long emphasised that one of the key conditions grounding individual responsibility is epistemic in nature. We analyze factual, moral, and constitutive ignorance that might impact moral responsibility for the meta-attitude of indifference to racism. While the standard view in the literature focuses on how responsibility can be preserved despite ignorance, we argue that mechanisms of social learning are pivotal to the empowerment of individual responsibility. Assuming that such mechanisms can be put in place, we conclude that we have, collectively and socially, a responsibility to combat the ignorance implicated in the indifference to racism.
Crédit photo: Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse