NYC School Board Member Under Fire After Using ‘Yellow Folks’ in Email Thread

yellow asian

Chanting “Asian, not yellow!” dozens of demonstrators stormed the local parental board meeting to demand the removal of a Community Education Council District 22 member in Brooklyn.

Board member Dr. Jackie Cody has sparked outrage among the Asian community for calling Asians “yellow folks” in a group email thread back in September, the New York Post reports.  

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch joined around 70 protesters calling for Cody’s resignation at a meeting in Gravesend Neck Road, Brooklyn last Tuesday evening. Addressing members of the CEC, Deutsch called for racial civility while denouncing Cody’s use of slurs. 

“We will not stand for hateful words for anyone!” Deutsch was quoted as saying. “When the Muslim community is attacked in our city, we all stand up for them. When the Jewish community is attacked, we stand up for them. When our black and brown communities are attacked, we all stand up for them. When the Asian community is attacked, we will stand up for them!”

Chants of “resign!” soon erupted from the crowd, prompting some CEC members to tell them to quiet down. Cody, who is African American, stood up at one point and addressed the protesters to apologize but the crowd just continued yelling at her.

 

The term “yellow” was reportedly used by Cody to describe Asians while stating her case in favor of eliminating Gifted & Talented programs on a Listserv email thread. The conversation included over 100 CEC members from across the city.

“To be blunt, certain Whites and certain Yellow folks on this listserv continue to focus on a very narrow view and misunderstanding that what they’re advocating for is damaging to White and Yellow children as well!” Cody wrote.

Part of the thread was her fellow council member Yiatin Chu, reports CBS.

“I couldn’t believe that another parent leader would use a racial slur in a forum being seen by over 150 parent leaders across the city,” Chu said.

“There is a lot of ugly history behind the use of the term ‘yellow.’ The term yellow peril in the 19th century which lead to the Exclusion Act which prevented anyone from China from immigrating to the U.S.”

Also included in the thread was CEC 3 member Lucas Liu, who immediately called Cody out for using a “racial slur.” According to Liu, the DOE took over two weeks to schedule a meeting to discuss Cody’s language, delaying any potential corrective action. The DOE reportedly declined taking any action, citing the “independence of the parent boards.”

Liu pointed out that there would have been a far bigger outrage had the target been another minority group. 

“There’s no reason why those types of words should be used in this day and age,” he was quoted as saying. “We get called yellow because we are not the minority he cares about. So we have to make him care about it, and it’s up to us to stand up and fight against racism.”

Cody has previously stated in past interviews that she did not know that the phrase was offensive, noting that other racial groups are often referenced by their color. She also vowed to no longer use it in the future.

In an interview with the Post, Cody said that she was trying to make the point that narrowly screened academic programs and schools are unfair to all racial groups.

Feature Image via CBS News

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