What are racist overtones

Neglect of languageThe fatal role of Facebook and Twitter

At the start of the 12th Governance Forum in Geneva, the UN “Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Information in Europe” expressed concern. David Kayes' reasoning is astonishing: of all things, the planned EU Code of Conduct against Hate Speech is at the center of his criticism. According to the Commissioner, these drafts would overshoot the mark and encourage government-enforced restrictions on freedom of expression. In plain language: He fears censorship on the basis of a prescribed "political" - in his sense probably - "over-correctness".

Behind this is probably the fear that Europe could suffer from linguistic self-submission. But we are still a long way from that. In view of the heated and aggressive tones on the Internet, on Facebook and on the street, we are currently far more at risk of linguistic and intellectual self-righteousness - at least noticeably neglecting it.

Questionable choice of words with a racist overtone

And here Facebook and Twitter do indeed play a remarkable - and fatal role. Trump's bullying Twitter failures seem to be catching on. Smaller and larger rulers apparently feel encouraged to do the same, to fall prey to a kind of rhetorical split in consciousness and to see the net as a kind of dark room of your true state of mind.

The latest example: the scandal surrounding a Facebook comment by the Mayor of Tübingen, Boris Palmer. In response to the smug comment of the reader of a local newspaper, who mocked the downright hysterical reactions of many fellow citizens whenever it comes to factual or alleged misdeeds by asylum seekers, he immediately posted:

"Very appropriate reaction. Don't feel like that when an Arab fucks you. Things are worse. Really now, Ms. D."

We do not want to evaluate the more than questionable choice of words and the racist overtone of this statement. She speaks for herself. So Palmer's justification for his misconduct seems all the more revealing. When asked by journalists whether he considered this kind of "exaggeration" to be appropriate for the role of an OB, he argued that it was not a mayor who had been talking to a citizen here - it was rather a dispute between "two private individuals on Facebook".

Carnival of sentiments

So Facebook as a legal vacancy, as a kind of permanent carnival of attitudes, in which everyone can let the pig out without makeup? This is exactly what the EU regulation, which was reviled at the beginning, wants to prevent - and if this has to be explained to incumbent local politicians with nationwide validity, the introduction of this code seems to be more urgent than ever.

The incident shows once again that the promise of anonymity online is dangerous. Not only for young people and notorious hateful citizens and troublemakers, but also for representatives of the elite. Or do such threats to language use the calculated breaking of taboos in order to be noticed in this world and to reach their true followers undercover? The worst: The strategy works - the first shitstorm is usually followed by the protest of the sympathizers for the persecuted martyr of truth and you end up in the next round of a talk show.

It is precisely this fatal mechanism that the EU decree wants to block at the point of origin. There is no lack of criteria for the legality of this interference in the name of fairness and European values. In case of doubt, you have to protect the public from a mayor. A republic that pays attention to its standards simply cannot afford a public loss of control of this kind (and Facebook is a public communication space).