Whites need not apply? Top German university job advertisement sparks outrage

In this Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 photo a statue of Alexander von Humboldt is pictured in front of the 'Humboldt University' in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
By Robert
5 Min Read

One of Germany’s top universities is being accused of fostering racism after the university’s student council (AstA) posted a highly controversial and discriminatory job advertisement that asked White people to refrain from applying to the position.

The Humboldt University of Berlin, one Germany’s most prestigious higher-learning institutions, caused quite the stir last week when its advisory council posted a job advertisement for an ‘anti-discrimination counselor which asked people with white skin not to apply, national broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg 24 reports.

“We ask (…) White people to refrain from applying for this advice center,” the advertisement says, claiming that the consultations work best “when the consultant is Black or is a person of color”.

After hearing about the university’s racist advertisement, politicians from Angela Merkel’s establishment-centrist CDU party have called on the school’s administration to immediately correct the mistake.

“The President of the Humboldt University (HU) and Senator for Science Müller must immediately ensure that the scandalous job advertisement for the Student Anti-Discrimination Advisory Service is taken off the Internet. The conditions listed therein, according to which people with white skin color should not apply, are illegal and blatantly discriminatory. Racism must not be fought with racism,” Adrian Grasse, a research policy spokesman for the CDU’s parliament group, said.

Germany’ Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency also addressed the job posting.

“In such a case, certain applicants must not be excluded from the onset,” the agency’s head, Bernhard Franke, told Bild.

In the wake of the widespread backlash and accusations of racism, the university did its best to save face, claiming that advancing a “plurality of opinions” was its primary goal — not the blatant discrimination against a racial group, in this case, people with white skin.

“It is expressly not in the interests of Humboldt University to discriminate against people. Regardless of skin color and origin, gender, ideological view, or age. We see ourselves as a place of a plurality of opinions, mutual appreciation, and respect,” Hans-Christoph Keller, the press spokesman for the Humboldt University, said.

To dampen the uproar and minimize any further criticism of the institution, the university’s administration has called on the student body and advisory council – which apparently are not subject to the legal supervision of the university – to review the job advertisement. 

“We are in the process of revising the ad. We regret the ambiguous wording,” the university’s RefRat said.

A revised version of the job posting, which appeared on Thursday evening, now says, “The counseling work has shown that this is best achieved by people who can advise from the perspective of how they are affected by racist discrimination. Therefore, we would particularly like to encourage people who have experienced racist discrimination to get on the spot to apply.”

This is not the first time that the Advisory Council at the Humboldt University of Berlin has published a racist job advertisement. According to a report from the German newspaper Bild, the council published a similar job advertisement in May 2021, which said that it “desired” the applicant to be “Black or a Person of Color”.

Over the past few years, expressions of anti-White racism have become increasingly acceptable and normal in a growing number of circles. 

In March, the leftist Deputy Mayor of Paris argued that White Frenchmen should be “silent” when people of color discuss racism, as Remix News previously reported.

In the same month, a mayor of one of California’s largest cities was accused of discrimination after poor White families were excluded from a planned benefit scheme that gives only poor people of color $500 a month for a year and a half.

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