A collection of alternative terms (and narratives) around identity politics

In day-to-day life, it is sometimes said that the spoken word matters. But actually, the spoken word always matters, because language creates facts. It is a powerful tool. It can whitewash one thing and play down another. Some things it gives a new meaning, some things it turns into the opposite. An example of this are the terms and narratives rewriting the field known as identity politics. Some of this vocabulary has passed into everyday usage, is used in personal conversations, in the media, and to some extent in science and politics too. Even advocates of the idea of increased participation and justice – both are at the core of ‘identity politics’ – use the terms, because they are bold and it is immediately known what is roughly meant by them. Therein lies their advantage. Their disadvantage: The complexity at stake in all the discussions about participation and justice is reduced to buzzwords. This becomes a problem when certain buzzwords do not just reduce the ideas behind concrete terms and narratives, but downright delegitimise them.

People change through the words we use to describe them. They become that which is ascribed to them.” What essayist Kübra Kübra Gümüşay writes applies not only to people. It applies to our way of looking at and talking about the world. It is not a one-way process. Other descriptions and new concepts become opportunities to capture new perspectives. This is the concern of the following collection of terms and narratives in the field of identity politics. Instead of constricting it, the collection should help to widen the view of what many debates and discussions are geared toward.


Alternative Term

identity politics

politics of acknowledgment and participation

cancel culture

consequence culture or culture of responsibility


sensitive to the issue of discrimination


considering the interests of minorities and the marginalised

dictatorship of political correctness

Berücksichtigen der Interessen von Minderheiten und Marginalisiertenen


considering the ethical aspects

PC police

invitation to forgo discriminatory and marginalising language

ban on speech

Aufforderung, auf diskriminierende und marginalisierende Sprache zu verzichten

victim identity

awareness of marginalisation and discrimination among those affected

gender ideology

gender justice

attack on freedom of speech

demand that there be no place for discriminatory and exclusionary attitudes in social discourse


Mensch, der sich solidarisch gegenüber Minderheiten und Marginalisierten verhält

dividing society

highlighting different attitudes within society

outrage culture

permanently attentive to issues of social justice

reverse racism

non-centring white people or their exclusion to create safe spaces for BIPoCs and postmigrants



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