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Brooklyn lawmaker condemns parent leader for anti-Asian slur


A Brooklyn lawmaker on Thursday urged schools Chancellor Richard Carranza to discipline a parent leader who referred to Asians as “yellow folks” in a group email.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn) blasted the comment from Jackie Cody, a volunteer member of the Community Education Council in southern Brooklyn’s District 22, as an “offensive racial slur.”

“It is distressing that a member of the CEC, who is expected to represent and advocate for a diverse body of students, could be so tone-deaf to a huge population of school families,” he wrote in a letter to Carranza.

Carranza said the comment is “unacceptable and doesn’t meet the high standards to which I hold our parent leaders.”

Mayor de Blasio also weighed in. “It sounds very insensitive to me,” he said. “It’s not something I think anyone should say.”

But whether Cody will be disciplined for the remark was unclear Thursday — Education Department officials didn’t immediately comment on the matter.

Cody made the remark in a September exchange on a listserv for Community Education Council members about the city’s proposal to revamp admissions to the specialized high schools and a separate suggestion to upend the city’s program for gifted and talented students. Specialized high schools and the gifted and talented program enroll disproportionate numbers of white and Asian students.

“To be blunt, certain Whites and certain Yellow folks on this list serv 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.

Dozens of Asian parents and children showed up at the council’s meeting Tuesday night to protest Cody’s comments, waving signs reading “Asians are not yellow,” and “PhDs should not discriminate.” Cody has a PhD.

Cody offered a mea culpa from the stage. “I sincerely apologize for offending the East Asian community. I had no idea that the term I used was offensive,” she told the crowd.

Lucas Liu, a Manhattan parent and member of CEC District 3, said the apology was too little, too late, and called on Cody to resign.

“It’s been over a month and a half since this incident occurred so any apology at this point is forced and insincere,” he said.

Jessica Byrne, the head of the CEC, said in a statement the CEC “strongly denounces all forms of bigotry and hatred” and will “take steps to review and modify our Code of Conduct in order to better reflect our values.”