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9 Jun, 2020 13:28

Hell-bent on anti-racism, Green MPs want 'race' to be dropped from German constitution… which BANS discrimination

Hell-bent on anti-racism, Green MPs want 'race' to be dropped from German constitution… which BANS discrimination

In a somewhat baffling bid to "unlearn" racism, two members of Germany's liberal Green Party have suggested that the mention of race should be scrubbed from the constitution, arguing it only highlights divisions between people.

The term "race" should be deleted from Germany's Basic Law, Greens co-chair Robert Habeck and party vice-president for the state of Schleswig-Holstein Aminata Toure wrote in an opinion piece for TAZ daily.

Its appearance in the text "manifests a subdivision of people into categories," and runs contrary to the constitutional assurance that "all people are equal before the law," the MPs insisted. Hence, removing the word from the constitution would help to "unlearn racism."

There are no 'races,' there are only people.

"Racism grew out of the belief that people could be divided and then enslaved and maltreated," he continued.

The unorthodox proposal raises many questions as Germany's progressive constitution, written with the crimes of the Nazi regime in mind, explicitly forbids discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, skin color, faith or political affiliation. 

Article 3 states that no person "shall be favored or disfavored because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions." It also outlaws stigmatizing disabled people and grants equal rights to men and women.

Habeck and Toure didn't suggest what word could replace the infamous "race," but acknowledged that racism is also "a German problem." People experience it "every day, on a small and large scale," they wrote, imploring the country to deal "with our colonial past whose anti-black racist sentiment continues to this day."

Their judgment seems to match that of the German government's anti-discrimination watchdog, which admitted in a fresh report that close to 1,200 people came across racist incidents in the workplace or while trying to find accommodation last year. That's nearly double the number reported in 2015, when a serious migrant crisis struck one of Europe's wealthiest nations.

In recent days, thousands of Germans voiced outrage against racial disparities and police violence, joining massive marches in major cities. A number of demonstrations, which drew inspiration from the US outcry over the death of black Minnesotan George Floyd, descended into chaos and clashes with police.

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