Anyone who fights discrimination must not be quiet

Criticism of Ferda Ataman’s proposal for the position of Anti-Discrimination Commissioner shows what controversial appointments to difficult posts can lead to. The (green) family minister dares to do something – and this is the result: sharp swords are swung straight away. Does it have to be that way?

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Example: “With this appointment as anti-discrimination commissioner, the Federal Republic shows what it really thinks of the efforts to democratize Islam, of the daily struggle for human rights, maturity and freedom of expression, namely nothing!” says sociologist Ahmad Mansour. And, sharper: Ataman will be “in truth an officer for cancel culture and division of society”. “This policy will create even more discrimination as it divides people based on race and colour. Criticism of ‘old white men’ or ‘potatoes’ is intolerance under the guise of anti-discrimination.”

Harsh criticism from Union and FDP

Or the harsh criticism from Union and FDP. The CSU politician Andrea Lindholz states cuttingly: “Mrs. Ataman has so far attracted attention primarily with clumsy provocations and hard left-wing ideology.” It is wrong to “insult the majority society or play social groups off against each other”.

Ataman, integration activist, author, columnist (at the Tagesspiegel), diversity entrepreneur: She is argumentative. She wants to be too. It was therefore logical that she would now trigger political disputes in person.

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Let’s take her words (for a “taz” supplement from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation) in the direction of the then Federal Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). They had it all: “Politicians who are currently talking about home are usually looking for an answer to the rampant ‘fear of strangers’. But that is dangerous. Because in this context, Heimat can only mean that it’s about blood and soil.” Blood and soil, a term associated with the Nazis. A provocation.

Horst Seehofer got into a clinch with Ferda Ataman.Photo: Tobias SCHWARZ / POOL / AFP

But this and other examples also show that you can also read them differently. Not as a mere leftist “Woke” racist of a new type who simply agitates against “white Germans”. Ataman writes on the subject of home in the “Spiegel” that Germany should become the “home of a culture of remembrance, cosmopolitanism and tolerance”. That sounds different.

The “potato” term has two readings

And with regard to the “potato” clash, she stated that it was about attributions from others and how they affected those described and society. In this context was the “potato”; and the reaction agrees that she, who herself has to live with attributions from others, is essentially right. Which leads to the following conclusion, a kind of reverse conclusion: anyone who wants or should take action against discrimination must have the courage to do something. Can’t be quiet officially, good, dear. Sometimes things have to be said (may) that offend. Otherwise it won’t work with the changed awareness, which is followed by changed action.

Also: In office, Ferda Ataman would certainly formulate it differently. Official offices are like that. Some:r Greens have already done this, from Joschka Fischer to this day. That’s not unusual. Not even that: deleting posts on Twitter. And be it up to 66 posts out of more than 12,000. Also means: something is made to fit. Which again can be read in such and such a way, negatively and positively. Or like this: In politics, nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked. Says a potato.

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