I’m definitely in the “Play what you love” NeverWinter camp. You’re going to have to stare at this character for hundreds of hours. You have better like what you see, and the more you identify with the character, the more you will love them. Honestly, you can make any race work. On top of that, Mod 16 has shaken things up in the middle of the game, so likely your racial decision has already been made.
That said, let’s take a moment and look at the races, for the sake of new players.
Dragonborn (Purchased Race): +2 bonus to any two stats is nice, it allows you to make sure you aren’t wasting your stat points. Draconic Heritage increases incoming healing, giving a good bonus for tank builds. Draconic Fury helps with criticals, and DPS isn’t our focus, but it’s always nice when soloing. All in all, it’s easy to see why the Dragonborn has been the optimal paladin choice in the pen and paper game since 4th edition.
Human: If you are of a certain age, the human is the paladin race in your head, for reasons going back to 1st edition D&D when they were the only valid choice. With a +3 to any one stat and +250 to all offensive and defensive ratings, they are still an iconic choice, especially with the new combat system.
Half-Orc: Not the most optimal choice. They can get a +2 to Constitution, which is good, but the Dex bonus isn’t that useful to us. The other two racial abilities, Furious Assault and Swift Charge, are about DPS and mobility. Not huge boons for a class whose primary mechanics limit mobility.
Wood Elf: The wood elf is probably slightly better than the half-orc. It has the same problems on the surface, with one relevant stat bonus and one DPS racial ability and one movement racial ability, but the movement ability helps resist slow effects, which can be annoying even to a tank.
Sun Elf: All the sun elf abilities are at least useful to a paladin. The stats are both relevant. Inner Calm helps action point gain, which is good for any class, and Sun Elf Grace increases resistance to control effects, which is better than the wood elf version in pretty much every way.
Dwarf: The dwarf isn’t a bad choice. One of the stats will be useful for a tank, both of them for a healer. Stand Your Ground, while not necessary, helps defend against annoying knockback while tanking. Cast Iron increases defense. That seems great, but you’ll probably hit your defense from items and wish this was something else eventually.
Halfling: The halfling is another good middle of the pack choice. They get one relevant stat bonus for sure, either charisma or constitution. Nimble Reaction gives a bonus to Deflect, which has the same issue as Cast Iron, above. Bold gives resistance to Control Effects, which is always useful.
Half-Elf: The half-elf is a fairly strong choice, as the middle of the pack races go. All the stat bonuses are relevant, plus they get an additional +1. Critical Severity is increased and they Gain a NeverWinter Astra Diamonds, so mainly this choice is about the stats.
Tiefling: I’d place the tiefling up in the top tier races. All the stat bonuses are relevant. They gain a DPS bonus on bloodied targets, which isn’t bad, but they also can reduce the damage a target deals when they take damage, which is great for a tank. Or a healer. Really it’s great for anyone who doesn’t like pain.
Drow: The drow might be at the low end of the choices here. They only have one relevant stat. Their debuff is only really useful for DPS. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t help your primary roles. Trance only helps HP regeneration out of combat, which is already pretty high.
Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn (lockbox only): The metallic dragonborn is much like the normal dragonborn, except the healing and DPS are reduced for more HP. All in all still a great choice. Mostly, you probably choose this because you CAN.
Moon Elf (Purchase Only): The moon elf is much the same as the sun elf, except they gain a smaller bonus to AP, but a bonus to Stamina regeneration as well. Top tier.
Menzoberranzan Renegade (Purchase Only): The same problems as the drow, except you had to pay for the privilege of making this sub-optimal choice.