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Ethnic Studies school administrator argued some Jewish Americans have ‘control of systemic power’

Castro-Gill is now the executive director of the advocacy organization Washington Ethnic Studies Now

Fox News

By Kendall Tietz

December 27, 2022 4:00pm EST

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An Ethnic Studies school administrator argued that White, Jewish people benefit from systems of oppression that disenfranchise all people of color, according to communications FOIA’d by Parents Defending Education.

When asked whether the Jewish community was included in development of Seattle Public Schools' (SPS) Ethnic Studies program, program manager Tracy Castro-Gill explained that because the program takes "an intersectional approach to evert aspect of identity… input from people and communities of color has been prioritized."

PDE filed a public records request to obtain Castro-Gill's emails containing the terms "Jewish," "Judaism," and "antisemitism" from September 1, 2018, to June 30, 2020.

Castro-Gill worked as SPS's Ethnic Studies program manager from September 2018 to June 2020, when the district released its controversial ethnic studies framework. Castro-Gill is now the executive director of the advocacy organization Washington Ethnic Studies Now (WESN).

Castro-Gill explained that "Judaism would not be a central topic in an ethnic studies program" because "data show that Jewish Americans benefit from current systems of power and, for the most part, have access to and control of systemic power" and "Jewish history of oppression and resistance is a major focus in the current Eurocentric narratives of history."

She linked to a 2016 article from The Atlantic entitled, "Are Jews White?" to support her argument.

"In studying Judaism, we would be interested in centering Jewish people of color and how their religious, ethnic, and racial identities intersect," Castro-Gill wrote in an email. "We could also critically analyze how white Jewish people benefit from systems of oppression that disenfranchise all people of color."

Ethnic studies courses, which focus on the histories and experiences of marginalized racial and ethnic groups, have been a topic of debate in states across the country.

"Ethnic studies can help fight racism and build understanding about racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States," Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO StandWithUs an international non-partisan organization that fights antisemitism and educates about Israel, told Fox News Digital in a statement. "Unfortunately, some influential organizations and activists undermine that goal by misrepresenting and excluding Jews from the conversation."

"While the empowerment and success of Jewish Americans should be celebrated, they are still an ethnic and religious minority that experiences hatred and discrimination," she added. "Those who deny that reality should not be trusted with implementing ethnic studies in K-12 classrooms."

In another email, Castro-Gill claims that "colorblindness is a cancer" and that "people of color cannot be racist, but they can engage in whiteness." Castro-Gill goes on to explain that through the help of laws, policy and practices, "white people have been taught to exchange their ethnic and cultural identities for the benefit of ‘whiteness'" and argues that "Our history tells us racism is the result of whiteness, not of race."

Castro-Gill asserted that "whiteness created racial oppression" which "has continued throughout our history in the United States."

"Using whiteness instead of racism reminds white people they have an ethnicity, too, and they’ve lost a piece of their humanity by perpetuating whiteness," Castro-Gill wrote. "White people need to find their medicine and restore their own humanity, so they can stop hurting others."

Nicki Neily, Founder and President of PDE, told Fox News Digital that it is "frightening" that "an individual with such clearly-documented hatred of so many groups has been able to influence education policy not only in Washington, but across the country."

"It raises questions whether any safeguards are in place to protect innocent children from being victimized by Ms. Castro-Gill’s ideology - and why nobody in the state department of education intervened to prevent this curriculum from being hijacked," she added.

SPS and Castro-Gill did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

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