In this essay we will analyse the use of the word ‘razza’ (race) in the Italian legal language, by investigating a sample consisting of ancient and contemporary legal documents contained in law databases available on the ITTIG-CNR Web site. The meaning of this term has changed over time, adapting to the evolutions of societies. From an initial meaning referring to animals of the same species or to communities linked by lineage, the term has been used to define supposed homogeneous groups into which humanity would be divided, with often discriminating connotations. This term is still present, for example in Article 3 of Italy’s Constitution and, alongside supporters of its elimination, there are prestigious scholars who postulate its maintenance precisely to avoid new discriminating tendencies.
Keywords: Legal language - Race - Discriminatory language - Law databases