Most have, I think, heard of the controversy surrounding Paula Deen of late. I can’t claim to know the entire story, but what I’ve read somehow reminds me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Deen has admitted that she has used and heard racial slurs without considering it a problem, and has orchestrated events where she sought to evoke old plantations, including the slaves, by having an all-black waitstaff. She maintains, though, that she isn’t racist, and I can believe that she is not consciously racist, but these attitudes are, in fact, racist.
Compare that to Sheldon. Sheldon is very sexist, without even recognizing that he is. His use of sexist language got him in trouble, even though he had no idea that what he said was wrong, nor why. This doesn’t stop him from being, in fact, sexist.
In both cases, bigoted views are held subconsciously, and are not recognized for what they are. When the person is reprimanded, the reprimand is met with disbelief and protestations of innocence. It is true that the intention was not to be bigoted, and intention is indeed important, but the action itself remains bigoted. We all have our biases and prejudices, but hopefully we can learn to recognize them and therefore move past them and instead see others as God sees them.