German commissioner known for racism against Germans claims ‘gender speech bans’ represent ‘step backwards into the last century’

Several federal states have bans in place on using gender speech

By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The German government’s anti-discrimination commissioner, Ferda Ataman, who is known for referring to ethnic Germans as “potatoes,” is voicing her outrage over a ban on gender language in schools in some federal states.

“These are “constitutionally problematic and serve a culture war on the backs of minorities,” she told Der Spiegel.

The German language features gender for each noun, and for many words there is both the male and female form, which also applies to professions. For instance, the word “teacher” has both a male (Lehrer) or female (Leherin) version. Left-wing activists and feminists have been attempting to modify the language towards a gender-neutral form, which has produced words like Lehrperson or Lehrer*innen to denote both genders in one word.

This move towards a “gender-neutral” German language has sparked fierce backlash from conservatives, and in some federal states, such as Bavaria and Hesse, there have been new prohibitions on teachers from using their own left-wing version of German.

Ferda Ataman, however, is adamant that any restriction in gender-neutral language is an attack on “the general personal rights of women, intersex and non-binary people,” according to German newspaper Welt.

As Remix News previously reported, Ataman has a history of racist remarks against Germans, labeling them “potatoes” in a Spiegel article published before she became anti-discrimination minister. In the article, she stated that ethnic Germans  “sometimes mutate into thin-skinned Emo-Germans” if they are called “potatoes.”

She further wrote: “A surprising number of people see this as insulting discrimination. Why?” She then proceeds to answer her own question, writing, “So, the outrage about ‘potato Germans’ is about something else. It’s about the inner resistance to deal with yourself and your own privileges.”

Ataman’s office is expected to release a paper this week attacking those states that have instituted a ban on gender-neutral language in schools, arguing that they are actively discriminating against people of all genders.

She said that any other goal would be “a step backwards into the last century.”

Share This Article