In Brief: Several German parties call for ‘race’ to be removed from nation’s Basic Law

The resurgence of this debate comes in the wake of widespread “Black Lives Matter” protests and discussions about racism.

Photo by Cytonn Photography from Pexels


By Sylvia Cunningham and Monika Müller-Kroll

Some German politicians from across the political spectrum want to strike the word “race” from Germany’s Basic Law, which bars discrimination based on factors like a person’s gender, language, religious beliefs and ethnicity.

Karamba Diaby, a Social Democrat who is among the first black lawmakers to serve in the German Parliament, told public broadcaster rbb, most scientists agree there’s only one “race,” so the term is outdated.

He added “ethnic background” might be a good substitute.

This is not the first time this discussion has come up, but Diaby said there previously wasn’t a majority of people who supported the change.

But now, in the wake of widespread “Black Lives Matter” protests and discussions about systemic racism, the idea is resurfacing with Green Party co-chairs leading the charge.


Meanwhile, the German interior and justice ministries plan to investigate the nation’s police force to see if there are patterns of racist behavior. 

The daily Die Welt reports that the federal authorities want to look into cases of racial profiling, which is prohibited by Germany’s Basic Law.

Green Party MP Irene Mihalic told public broadcaster ARD that Germany needs scientific research to determine if there are a few, isolated cases of racist or unconstitutional behavior, or if there are bigger structural problems within the police force.

The planned study comes after Berlin passed a first-of-its-kind anti-discrimination law earlier this month.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

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