It is good that the Bundestag is now giving itself the necessary time to talk to the designated head of the anti-discrimination agency, Ferda Ataman, before it – for the first time, by the way – elects a new head. It is to be hoped that the hysteria about the personnel will evaporate in direct discussions between the factions and her. A look back: In the 16 years of its existence, two women have been at the head of the ADS, none of them had been sung that from the cradle.
The first female boss to come from Catholic lobbying turned out to be a glaring mistake. Her successor was committed and imaginative, she retired four years ago – since then, ADS has been managed on an interim basis by a lawyer who is experienced in the field but has now also reached retirement age.
Shirt-sleeved recruitment, long vacancies – the history of the German office dedicated to the practical implementation of the first sentence of the Declaration of Human Rights (“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”) has never caused a stir. A storm broke out, however, because now for the first time a person is to take office who is thoroughly qualified for it in terms of background and career. Daughter of Turkish parents, already dealing with the topic of migration during her studies and (co-)founder of several successful agencies that give people like her a voice: educated, qualified, committed, grew up with more than just one culture and yet excluded from many opportunities. The tireless educational work of the “New German Media Makers: Inside”, their cheerful and clever lobbying may have contributed to the fact that German editors have recently become more colorful – for their own good fortune. Ataman’s invention “Mediendienst Integration”, an information platform on migration and integration, has been conveying solid knowledge to the smallest editorial departments in the republic for ten years.
Ataman is now being accused of state funding for this as well as founding a management consultancy on the subject long after they left – as if it were a crime to earn money with knowledge. The accusation that she is racist herself because she defended the ironic term “potato” for white Germans testifies to the astonishing ignorance of the critics of everything that has been better known about racism for a few years. The anger at Ataman should be actually be another symptom that power and speaking space are being reallocated, at least a little bit. And that not everyone likes it. May the Bundestag be wiser in its majority.