Is it okay to discriminate against people

Term "race"

Article 3 (3) sentence 1 of the Basic Law currently states: "Nobody may be disadvantaged or preferred because of [...] their race [...]."

The provision aims to combat racism and rule out racial discrimination. At the same time, however, the wording of the provision suggests an image of man that is based on the idea of ​​different human “races”. However, only racist theories are based on the assumption that there are different human "races". The wording in Article 3 Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law thus leads to an irresolvable contradiction: According to the current wording of the Article, in the case of racist discrimination, those affected must claim that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their “race”; they have to assign themselves to a certain “race”, so to speak, and are thus forced to use racist terminology.

The discussion about the term “race” is not about an intellectual game of thought, but about a change of perspective: Racism cannot be fought credibly if the term “race” is retained. This is all the more true as its continued use makes the concept of human “races” appear acceptable and can help fuel racist thinking. In the meantime, there is a broad awareness of the problem with regard to the term in Germany. A change to the Basic Law, which forms the foundation of the German legal system, would be an important signal to finally break down language habits and end the apparent acceptance of racial concepts.

As long as the term “race” is used in relation to people as in Article 3 of the Basic Law, it triggers irritation and speechlessness, up to and including personal injuries. It is by no means necessary to use it. The European Parliament has already recommended that the term no longer be used in EU documents and legal texts. Some states have already distanced themselves from it in their national law. After all, the term “race” is not amenable to any reasonable interpretation. It cannot be either, since any theory that relies on the existence of different human "races" is inherently racist. It is therefore time to change the prohibition of discrimination in Article 3, Paragraph 3, Clause 1 of the Basic Law to abandon this term and instead incorporate a ban on racial discrimination or preferential treatment. The purpose of the standard would thus become clearer: the prohibition of and protection against racial discrimination.