Is Indian a race or an ethnic affiliation?

On the problem of the term “race” in legislation

by Hendrik Cremer

In the EU directive "on the application of the principle of equal treatment regardless of race or ethnic origin" from the year 2000 (anti-racism directive 2000/43 / EC), the following declaration can be found at the beginning (recital 6): "The European Union has theories, with which one tries to prove the existence of different human races back. The use of the term “race” in this guideline does not imply the acceptance of such theories. ”This is followed in the context of the guideline by phrases such as“ if a person is based on their race ”,“ persons belonging to a race ”, which are related to the race ... of a person "or" unequal treatment on the basis of a characteristic connected with the race ... ".

The guideline particularly clearly shows the problems that arise from the use of the term “race” in legal texts, which continues to this day. The European legislator has therefore developed an awareness of the problem of the term “race”, but is still sticking to the term. The preceding introduction of recital 6 in the directive cannot eliminate the dilemma: The following formulations in the directive, taken by themselves, lead rather to an irresolvable contradiction. Although the guideline aims to combat racism, with a view to discrimination on racial grounds, the wording inevitably awakens the association of an image of man based on the idea of ​​different human “races”. Racist theories alone are based on the assumption that there are different human "races".

The term “race” has always been extremely burdened historically and inevitably has racist implications. It was always accompanied by categorizations of people. As contradicting as it may sound, at the time of the Enlightenment it was widespread view that there were different and hierarchically organized human "races", at the head of which was the "white race". This also justified slavery and an aggressive and violent colonial policy. (Moore 2008, Introduction: XI f.) With the National Socialists, the term “race” and the associated “racial theories” were ultimately at the center of National Socialist ideology, which was reflected in the “race struggle” they proclaimed, the planned mass murder of the so-called “unworthy Life ”culminated.

Against this background, there have been numerous appeals at international level to refrain from the concept of “race”. In its “Statement on Race”, for example, UNESCO pointed out as early as 1950 that the terminology “race” stands for a social myth that has caused an enormous amount of violence.

Nevertheless, the term “race” is still used today in international human rights protection documents, in the German Basic Law or in other German legal regulations at federal or state level - such as in the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) from 2006. Especially when it comes to human rights protection against racial discrimination, the term “race” is used, which seems absurd because of its racist implications. Adhering to the term “race” in (human) legal texts ultimately also means that legislators, scientists, NGOs or others who deal with relevant legal texts are constantly forced to problematize the term in text insertions or footnotes and only Use in quotation marks to distance yourself from the term. This not only applies to the German-speaking area, but can also be observed on an international level.

The awareness of the problem for the term “race” in Germany as well as the will that it should no longer be used seems to exist on a broad basis. Now the last step should be taken: to no longer use the term “race” in legal texts. This would make things much easier for everyone involved, and the legislature would no longer be in a mess, albeit well-intentioned, but ultimately less convincing or even contradicting legal justifications for the use of the term “race”. The explanatory memorandum for the German AGG makes it clear that the legislature will not find any consistent and satisfactory solutions in dealing with the term "race" as long as it adheres to it (see below).

Against this background, the German Institute for Human Rights held a workshop on the term “race” in October 2007, in which representatives of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Foreign Office, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, the Society for the German Language and NGOs took part. Various wording variants for a change in the law of the AGG were discussed, according to which the term “race” would no longer appear in the law. The results developed in the workshop form the basis for the recommendations developed in a policy paper of the institute for a future avoidance of the term “race” in the German legal system and a desired change in the AGG as a first step and signal in this direction.

Other terms used - also in legal texts on protection against discrimination - such as “ethnic origin” or “ethnic affiliation” can be carrier terms for racism. (Forum gegen Rassismus 2001: 4) With the term “race” this is the case per se. Of course there is racism, even without the term “race” being used. Any other assumption would be stupid or naive. However, one cannot credibly fight racism if the term “race” is retained. Rather, the use of the term “race” by the legislature creates the impression that the law assumes the existence of different human “races”.

At present, in the case of racial discrimination, victims must claim that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their “race”. So you have to assign yourself to a certain “race” in order to be able to assert discrimination. This shows the absurdity of the language regime: Victims of racial discrimination have to make the language and the thoughts of the discriminating party their own. Regulations that sanction “racist discrimination” or “racist disadvantage” are therefore preferable in order to refer to the ideas behind them. So it is about a change of perspective in the language of legal regulations.

In order to clarify what practical effects the use of the term “race” can have in the German legal system, reference is made here to a naturalization form used in Berlin as an example. In this the consent to the processing of personal data "on racial origin" was required. At the beginning of 2007 the public became aware of the form and caused considerable national and international outrage. There was talk of Nazi jargon or Nazi vocabulary in German authorities in the media.

The term “race” should therefore no longer be used in legal texts, because legal texts can help to raise awareness and should have a certain role model function. The role model function of legal texts is always relevant when it comes to human rights issues such as combating discrimination and racism.

The demand to stop using the term “race” should not be understood as a prohibition of language or thought. Rather, it is about questioning and breaking down language and thinking habits. Taking into account the historical impact of concepts and conceptual constructs associated with the term “race”, there is no apparent reason to cling to the term. In the meantime, science has also come to the opinion on a broad basis that the concept of “race”, which was adopted from the past, is not suitable for adequately capturing the apparent diversity of people. The scientific evidence of the present therefore does not support the earlier view held up into the 20th century that human populations could be classified into separate "races" such as "Africans", "Eurasians" or any larger number of subgroups. (Kattmann 1999: 65 ff.)

However, this question does not only, and not primarily, concern the empirical human sciences. It is about questions of attitudes and evaluations. Racism also exists independently of biological theories. Conversely, it is true that theories according to which different human “races” can be defined are always racist. Racist attitudes are not dependent on the assumption of human “races” according to biological criteria, they are based on self-defined “races”. The problem is the belief in their existence and the associated evaluations and effects. (Kattmann 1999, 80) In this sense, racism can have many facets. For example, when certain groups of people are assigned certain characteristics in which they are, so to speak, “trapped” and no longer perceived as individuals. Such ascriptions can be based on external characteristics such as skin color. You can also focus on genes or blood or on certain mentalities, including religious ones.

The view is still held that the term “race” should be retained in legal texts, because this is the only way to make the goal of fighting racism clear. Such an argument seems difficult to understand. Other proponents of the term refer to the common use of the term in the discussion of questions of racism and in particular to the meaning of the term "race" in English-speaking countries. Accordingly, it should only be understood as a socio-political term and not in a biological sense. The undoubtedly widespread use of the term “race” in the English-speaking world is often used as a reason for the fact that its use is safe. In the following, however, it should be made clear that the term is problematic and burdensome not only in German, but also in other languages. The use of the term in English is also discussed. It also shows that some other European countries are already moving away from the term “race” in their legislation. Finally, recommendations are made to German legislators, executives as well as to the EU and Germany's foreign policy.

Conceptual development of the category “race” up to National Socialism
The following is a sketch of the history of the term “race” up to the time of National Socialism. The aim is to show that the term has always been associated with a claim to rule or withdrawal and has been used since the end of the 17th century in connection with the categorization and at the same time hierarchization of groups of people. The term “race” therefore carried the criterion of community of descent from the start and went through a conceptual history that ultimately led to the term “racism” (Conze 1984: 135).

Premodern origins of the term "race"
The etymological origin of the term “race” is unclear. There is only evidence that it was used in the Romance languages ​​since the 13th century as "razza" (Italian), "raza" (Spanish), "raca" (Portuguese) and "race" (French). The term was only used increasingly in the 16th century - in English as "race". During this time the term “race” was used in the sense of descent and belonging to a certain family, a house of “noble sex” or as a synonym for “ruling house”. The term “race” has therefore linked “nobility” and “quality”, which is documented in Romansh as well as in English, and occasionally also for German. In the edict of forced conversion of the Spanish Reconquista of 1492, the term “race” (“raza”) was used for the first time in relation to Jews. With the demand for “purity of blood”, their special position was also manifested, which should exclude them from Spanish society beyond the conversion (Sommer 1984: 137 ff.).

The term “race” and the categorization of people from the Enlightenment to National Socialism
Since the end of the 17th century, the term “race” was finally used in such a way that it was accompanied by the formation of categories of people. Plants, animals, but also humans were divided into species, families, groups and even “races”. Representatives from all sciences spoke up when it came to creating criteria for categorizing people. The categorizations were often based on discovery and travel reports written in Romance languages ​​or in English. The term “race” appeared here more and more frequently to describe the population of other countries (Sommer 1984: 141).

The categorizations made according to different human "races" varied in their explanatory approaches. Their respective characteristics - physical as well as character - were justified and explained with different climatic zones. Others referred to the historical development of mankind as an explanation: according to the migration of peoples to different regions of the world different human characteristics emerged. Still others relied on anatomical examinations such as skull measurements or combined different explanatory approaches.

The natural scientist Carl von Linné (1707–1778), for example, divided the human species into four categories and assigned them both physical and character traits. For example, he described the temperament of Africans as “bossy” and “lazy” (Morgenstern 2002: 136 f.). Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707–1788), also a naturalist, emphasized skin color as a criterion for differentiating between different “races”. He considered the "white", European "race" to be the "most beautiful" and "best". (Schmitz-Berning 1998: 482). Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), who introduced the French word “race” into German usage, also showed a strong preference for the “European race” when he wrote, for example: “Humanity is in its greatest perfection in the race of whites . The yellow Indians have less talent. The negroes are far lower, and the lowest is a part of the American peoples ”(Kant 1802: 316). The theory of the Göttingen university professor Christoph Meiners (1747-1810) stated that humanity was formed from two tribes (polygenesis). The "races" of Caucasian descent are fundamentally superior to those of the Mongolian tribe, although there are also hierarchical gradations between the individual "races" within the tribes themselves. (Conze 1984: 150 ff.)

The French Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (1816–1882) emphasized the fundamental differences between different human “races” with the “whites” at the top. The mixing of the "races" - according to Gobineau - leads to degeneration and thus to the demise of the superior "races". During this time, the theory of evolution of the English biologist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) came into being. In the course of time, his theory formed the basis for theories according to which the individual “human races” led the “struggle for existence” (social Darwinism). François Galton (1822–1911), a cousin of Darwin, pursued efforts that were raised in England as “eugenics”, in Germany by Alfred Ploetz (1860–1940) and Wilhelm Schallmeyer (1857–1919) as “racial hygiene” (Conze 1984: 166).

“Race” in anti-Semitism from the second half of the 19th century
From the second half of the 19th century, there were increasing numbers of publications in which Judaism was described and classified as a “race”.The evaluation of Judaism broke away from religious justification approaches and shifted to a secular characterology, whereby stereotypes of the old Christian hostility to Jews were adopted, but modernized and supplemented (Conze 1984: 174). "The Jew" ("Judah") were ascribed the lowest character traits and dangerous political goals such as revolution and world domination.

From the many writings that dealt with the subject of "race" towards the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century with reference to Judaism, one stood out. This is "The Foundations of the 19th Century" from 1899 by Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855–1927), who was born in England and who later took on German citizenship. Chamberlain glorified the "Aryan-Germanic race" and the "entry of the Teutons into world history". According to Chamberlain, the “Aryan-Germanic race” would legitimately be entitled to rule the world. While he called other “races” such as “negroes” a “subordinate, inferior human subspecies incapable of culture”, he saw the “Aryan-Germanic race” threatened by Judaism, in which it was striving for world domination. Like Richard Wagner before, Chamberlain also constructed a contrast between the Germanic and the Jewish “race”. He conceived the Jews as a negative counter-image to his “Aryan-Germanic races” ideal (Zerger, 1997: 41 ff.).

Chamberlain's work had a considerable impact - not only in his adopted home Germany (Geiss 1988: 174). The National Socialists later invoked him again and again, and Chamberlain also had a strong impact on Hitler (Conze 1984: 173). Under the National Socialists, “racial doctrine” and “anti-Semitism” were inextricably linked. In doing so, they placed the “race struggle” at the center of their inhuman ideology. The barbarism of the Third Reich was based on the notion of a world-historical final battle in which it was a matter of “keeping the blood clean” and “eradicating” “parasitic” Judaism. The ideological reduction of the National Socialists, that history is “racial struggle”, ended in the genocide of the Jews.

Interim conclusion
The term “race” is extremely burdened historically. It has always been accompanied by categorizations of people, combined with devaluations of certain groups of people. In the end, he assumed a central role in the ideology of the National Socialists. The "race struggle" propagated by the National Socialists, in which the "Aryans" formed the "master race", ended in the systematic and monstrous annihilation of so-called "unworthy life".

The use of the term “race” after the Nazi era
Despite this finding, the term “race” has been used to this day. The term experienced a contradicting history after the time of National Socialism and its usage varies widely. There are societies in which use is commonplace, which can go so far that some people - and others too - define themselves primarily according to "race". In the USA, for example, it is a key term in political and public life - for example in the political implementation of the principle of equality. Nevertheless, he is also subject to criticism here. Proponents of the term “race” refer to its social significance in US society, while opponents emphasize that the term is inextricably linked to a biological concept.

International appeals to move away from the term "race"
As already mentioned, there have already been numerous appeals at international level to refrain from the term “race”. As early as 1950, UNESCO pointed out in its “Statement on Race” that the terminology “race” stands for a social myth that has caused an enormous amount of violence. In 1978 the General Conference of UNESCO unanimously affirmed the following: “All human beings belong to a single species and are descended from common ancestors. They are born equal in dignity and rights and together form humanity ”. And in June 1995 anthropologists, human geneticists and biologists issued a statement during the UNESCO conference “Against Racism, Violence and Discrimination” according to which the concept of “race”, which had been adopted from the past, had become “completely obsolete”. There is “no scientific reason” to stick to the term “race”, since there is no scientifically reliable way to characterize human diversity with rigid terms, “racial” categories or the traditional “race concept”. The opinion distances itself from racism as the belief that human populations differ in genetically determined characteristics of social worth, so that certain groups are inferior or superior to others.

Adherence to the term “race” in international human rights documents and their translations into German
Nevertheless, the term “race” is still used consistently in international documents on the protection of human rights. It appears particularly frequently in the “International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination” (ICERD) from 1965, as the title of the convention suggests. In addition, it is used in particular in the general prohibitions on discrimination of UN human rights treaties, but also in the context of the prohibitions on discrimination of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) or additional protocols to the ECHR.

The contract languages ​​of international human rights treaties include, for example, English, French and Spanish. The terms “race” (English), “race” (French) or “raza” (Spanish) can therefore be found in the contract languages. German, on the other hand, is not a contractual language. Insofar as Germany signs and ratifies human rights treaties and publishes them in German, these are only German - non-binding - translations. Corresponding to the meaning of the word, the term “race” is still used in the official German translation of international human rights treaties - or other international documents - to this day.

The term “breed” at European and national level
The following section outlines the extent to which the term “race” is currently used in legal texts at European and national level.

The term “race” in the EU
The term “race” has been included in Art. 13 of the EC Treaty, which forms the basis of authorization for the anti-racism directive 2000/43 / EC mentioned above. Article 13 of the EC Treaty came into force in May 1999 as part of the Amsterdam Treaty. Like the Anti-Racism Directive 2000/43 / EC, Article 13 of the EC Treaty provides for both “race” and “ethnic origin” as points of reference for prohibited discrimination. The term “race” was accepted by the heads of government and states of the EU member states without any discussion in the context of the drafting of Article 13 of the EC Treaty. Only two years later, when the Anti-Racism Directive 2000/43 / EC was being drawn up, the situation was already different. A number of Member States indicated that the mention of the term “race” in the directive was tantamount to accepting racist theories. Others advocated the use of the term “race” as it corresponds to common usage or is even necessary to make it clear that the directive combats racism (Tyson 2001: 201). Several attempts had to be made to find a compromise on this point. This unconvincing compromise ultimately consisted in the fact that the term “race” was included and the directive was preceded by the aforementioned recital 6. In this, the European Union rejects theories that attempt to prove the existence of different human races.

No use of the term “race” in some EU member states
In some member states of the EU, as in the course of the implementation of the Anti-Racism Directive 2000/43 / EC, the position has become established to consciously ban the term “race” from national legislation. The Finnish constitution, for example, restricts itself to the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of “origin”, which, according to the reasons for the law, also includes racial discrimination or discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin. Also in the Finnish law on non-discrimination, which implements the anti-discrimination directive EG 2000/43 / EG, only the terminology of “ethnic and national origin” can be found. And the Swedish Ethnic Discrimination Act only refers to “ethnicity”.

In Austria, too, the term “race” was deliberately omitted when implementing the EU directive. At the same time, care was taken not to restrict the scope of the national law. The solution was seen in choosing the term “ethnic affiliation” instead of the term “ethnic origin”. In the Austrian federal law on equal treatment, for example, it says: "On the basis of ethnic affiliation ... nobody ... may be directly or indirectly discriminated ...". A reason why the term “ethnic affiliation” should be understood further than the term “ethnic origin” cannot be found in the materials and documents relating to the law. In order to clarify the purpose and direction of the law, the legislator has introduced the term "anti-racism" in the Austrian Equal Treatment Act.

The term "race" in the German legal system
In the German legal system, the term “race” can be found in many federal or state regulations - it is also included in the Basic Law (GG). Art. 3, para. 3, p. 1 GG reads: "Nobody may be disadvantaged or preferred because of ... their race ..." EG implements, it says in § 1 AGG: "The aim of the law is to prevent or eliminate discrimination on grounds of race ..." The legislature has recognized the problem of the term "race" in the AGG, as the legal justification (BT-Drs. 16/1780, 30 f.), but still adhered to it. The justification of the AGG indicates that the AGG - based on Article 13 of the EC Treaty - used the phrase “for reasons of race” and not the phrase “because of its Race". This should make it clear that the law does not presuppose the existence of different human "races", but that those who behave in a racist manner accept this.

First of all, it is noteworthy that the legislature implicitly assumes, after the reasons given for the AGG, that the Basic Law (Art. 3) assumes the existence of different human "races". Apart from that, the explanatory memorandum for the AGG also makes it clear that there are no satisfactory solutions as long as the term “race” is used.

Considerations about changes in German law
In the AGG, the term “race” is found four times - divided into three different paragraphs, namely in Section 1, Section 19 (1) and (2) and Section 33 (2) AGG. The term is used in the context of identical formulations. The proposed amendment to Section 1 of the AGG as an example can therefore also be applied to the other sections of the AGG that contain the term “race”. § 1 AGG currently reads: “The aim of the law is to discriminate for reasons of race or to prevent or eliminate because of ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity. "

The following text for an amendment to § 1 AGG would be conceivable: The aim of the law is to prevent or eliminate racist discrimination or disadvantages due to ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity.

The Anti-Racism Directive 2000/43 / EC on which the AGG is based, as well as the AGG itself, aim to combat racism and prevent or eliminate the disadvantages associated with it, using the characteristic of “race”. Conceptually, protection against “racist discrimination” is suggested in order to refer to the ideas behind it.

The AGG protects against both direct and indirect disadvantages. The latter are - unintended - disadvantages through seemingly neutral regulations, criteria or procedures. Discrimination by people who do not consider themselves racist but behave de facto that way are already covered by the AGG. Formulations that would be based entirely on the subjective view of the person being disadvantaged, such as “disadvantages for racist reasons”, would therefore run counter to the scope and protective purpose of the AGG. The proposal chosen here to use the phrase “racist disadvantages” in the AGG therefore aims to also cover indirect disadvantages.

As with the term “race”, “racial discrimination” is an indefinite legal term that must be determined by interpretation. Possible objections that the term “racist discrimination” is too vague could not be convincing in this respect.

Any fears that the terminology “racist discrimination” proposed here could be interpreted further than the previous wording of the law would have to be countered by the fact that the previously used term “race” - as well as the term “ethnic origin” - was based on the legal grounds for the AGG is already to be understood under EC law in a comprehensive sense. In addition, it could be discussed in the explanatory memorandum that the intention of the amendment to the law is solely to avoid the term “race” without expanding or narrowing the scope of the AGG. In addition, according to the Anti-Racism Directive 2000/43 / EC, the characteristic of “ethnic origin” should be retained as a reference point for prohibited discrimination in the AGG.

The Basic Law (GG) forms the foundation of the German legal system. The main state system and value decisions are laid down in it. Therefore, the Basic Law should no longer use the term “race”. The general principle of equality in the Basic Law (Art. 3 GG) as a central norm in the German legal system should be changed so that the term “race” no longer appears without thereby restricting the scope of protection of the norm.

Ideas for future formulations in international human rights treaties
International documents on the protection of human rights should also no longer use the term “race”. The following is a proposal for the future formulation of international human rights treaties, although other variants are certainly also possible. The proposed wording refers to general prohibitions of discrimination in international human rights treaties. In the same or modified form, however, it is also suitable for other legal texts that want to prevent racial discrimination - for example at EU level. The proposed wording refers to English, as English is an essential contractual language and at the same time an essential working language in the drafting process of international conventions and other documents.

General prohibitions of discrimination in international human rights treaties are all structured in a similar way. The prohibition of discrimination in the relatively modern Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 2, Paragraph 1) from 1989 reads in English: "States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's ... race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. "

Based on this prohibition of discrimination, it could in future read, for example, in prohibitions of discrimination: "States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights ... without discrimination of any kind, without discrimination based on racism and irrespective of the child’s ...color ... "

The general prohibitions of discrimination in international human rights treaties protect against direct (direct) as well as indirect (indirect) discrimination. The proposal chosen here with the formulation “without discrimination based on racism” aims to cover both forms of discrimination. A conceivable alternative formulation such as “racist discrimination” could run the risk of an interpretation that is too narrow, which would only cover the direct form of racist discrimination.

In the international discussion, proponents of the term “race” repeatedly point out that the term “race” is necessary in human rights treaties in order to make the goal of combating racism clear. Therefore, the term racism should be included directly in human rights texts. It does not seem sufficient to simply leave out the term “race” and focus solely on other terms such as “ethnic origin” or “ethnic affiliation”. In principle, it must be ensured that the chosen wording is not understood too narrowly and not only covers direct but also indirect discrimination.

The term “race” has always been historically extremely burdened and by no means only the subject of discussions in German-speaking countries. In a number of countries and languages ​​- especially in continental Europe - there is a clear tendency to avoid the term “race” in relation to people. Ultimately, the term “race” should no longer be used in national and international legal texts to combat racism, as it has racist implications. Correspondingly, other states have basically waived the characteristic of “race” in their national law, as they did when implementing the Anti-Racism Directive 2000/43 / EC. The term “race” should also no longer be used in the German legal system. In addition, the Basic Law and the AGG should be amended accordingly.

Recommendations to German politics

Amendment to the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG)
The wording of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) should be changed. The term “race” is included four times in the AGG - divided into three different paragraphs (Section 1, Section 19 Paragraph 1, Paragraph 2, Section 33 AGG). The wording proposed here for an amendment to Section 1 of the AGG could also be transferred to the other sections of the AGG that contain the term “race”. The following text for an amendment to § 1 AGG would be conceivable: The aim of the law is to prevent or eliminate racist discrimination or disadvantages due to ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity.

Amendment of the Basic Law
The general principle of equality in the Basic Law (Art. 3 GG) as a fundamental norm in the German legal system should also be changed so that the term "race" no longer appears without thereby restricting the scope of protection of the norm.

Fundamental departure from the term “race” in the German legal system
The German legislators - at the federal level as well as at the state level - should in future avoid the term “race” altogether. The same applies to ordinances or decrees issued by the executive.

Engagement of Germany against a continuation of the term "race" in international documents
In the future, Germany should - together with other states - work to ensure that the term “race” is no longer used when drafting international documents. Depending on the chances of success, different levels appear conceivable at which Germany could campaign for this: at the EU level, with additional protocols to the ECHR and with documents at the UN level. However the term “race” is currently used and understood in different societies and languages, its continuation in international documents on the protection of human rights should be prevented in the future.

Since the term “race” is historically extremely burdened, its use inevitably has racist implications. The resulting and clearly growing reservations about the term “race” should therefore be clearly expressed in future when international human rights treaties are being drawn up. This should be well coordinated and coordinated with as many states as possible.

When drafting international documents on the protection of human rights, solutions based on consensus should be sought in the future, after which the term “race” is no longer mentioned. At the same time, it must be ensured that legal regulations for sanctioning racist discrimination are not restricted in their area of ​​protection.


  • Conze, Werner, Rasse, in: Otto Brunner / Werner Conze / Reinhart Koselleck (Eds.), Historical Basic Concepts, Historical Lexicon on Political-Social Language in Germany, Volume 5, Stuttgart 1984, pp. 135 ff.
  • Cremer, Hendrik, "... and which race do you belong to?" On the issue of the term "race" in legislation, Policy Paper No. 10, German Institute for Human Rights (publisher) Berlin 2008.
  • Forum against Racism, Info Letter 1, August 2001.
  • Geiss, Imanuel, History of Racism, Frankfurt am Main 1988.
  • Kant, Physische Geographie “(1802), in: Königlich Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Ed.), Kant’s collected writings, Volume IX, p. 316. Available online here
  • Kattmann, Ulrich, Why and with what effect do scientists classify people ?, in: Heidrun Kaupen-Haas / Christian Saller (eds.), Wissenschaftlicher Rassismus, Frankfurt / Main 1999, p. 65 ff.
  • Moore, John Hartwell (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Race & Racism, Volume 1, Detroit 2008, Introduction.
  • Morgenstern, Christine, racism - the contours of an ideology. Immigration in the Political Discourse of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hamburg 2002.
  • Schmitz-Berning, Cornelia, Vocabulary of National Socialism, Berlin 1998.
  • Sommer, Antje, Rasse, in: Otto Brunner / Werner Conze / Reinhart Koselleck (eds.), Historical Basic Concepts, Historical Lexicon on Political-Social Language in Germany, Volume 5, Stuttgart 1984, pp. 137 ff.
  • Tyson, Adam, The Negotiation of the European Community Directive on Racial Discrimination, in: European Journal of Migration and Law 3, 2001, pp. 199 ff.
  • Zerger, Johannes, what is racism? An introduction, Göttingen 1997.

Dr. jur. Hendrik Cremer is a research fellow at the German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin. His work focuses on migration, protection against discrimination and the prevention of torture. He is also an expert on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.