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Are Only “Jews of Color” Oppressed? The Lens Of A California Ethnic Studies Leader

Are Only “Jews of Color” Oppressed? The Lens Of A California Ethnic Studies Leader

“Jews of color” but not white Jews could be considered marginalized populations to be studied in California’s soon-to-be-mandated Ethnic Studies’ curriculum for K-12 schools.

Jews aren’t oppressed, according to critical theorist and ethnic studies movement leader Artnelson Concordia (whose ethnic studies gold rush I’ve covered in the Wall Street Journal). Or at least, even when repeatedly asked, he did not deny it at B’nai B’rith synagogue during a Jewish outreach event this month, saying “Jews of color” but not white Jews could be considered marginalized populations to be studied in California’s soon-to-be-mandated Ethnic Studies’ curriculum for K-12 schools.  

Concordia is an ethnic studies activist currently employed by the Santa Barbara Unified School District, where he is helping them implement a new ethnic studies course to study “historically underrepresented groups” that will be required for high school graduation. Before he became a consultant, Concordia worked on a version of the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that Governor Gavin Newsom initially rejected for being anti-Semitic, before passing a revised version this month.  Ethnic studies has a long, controversial history in the state. And as of last week, ethnic studies will soon be a course requirement for every high schooler in California. But isn’t the first time that ethnic studies activists have gotten into hot water with the California Jewish community.

In 2016, the California state legislature passed a bill requiring the State Board of Education (SBE) to create an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) to help guide districts interested in creating an ethnic studies course. The original draft of the ESMC was widely derided for being antisemitic, such as the inflammatory political statement: “the state of Israel was founded on Palestinian land.” It repeated common tropes about Jews controlling the media and expressed support for BDS, a Palestinian activist group with ties to Hamas. The outcry was swift and overwhelming: tens of thousands of Californians publicly expressed their opposition. Governor Newsom rejected the curriculum, saying it was “offensive in so many ways” and “would never see the light of day.”

In response, the SBE went back to the drawing board and created a revised curriculum sans the anti-semitism. It passed this year without issue.

When the SBE revised the curriculum, they also started fresh with a new team of authors. But the ethnic studies activists who authored the original curriculum didn’t simply disappear. Instead, they created a private ethnic studies consultancy called the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute. Members of this group are the primary advocates of ethnic studies within the state, and many of them have been hired as consultants by California school districts (particularly Santa Barbara Unified and Salinas). Tolteka Cuauhtin is the most infamous of the bunch. Earlier this year he was one of the subjects of a Chris Rufo piece exposing how ethnic studies activists are making children chant to Aztec gods of human sacrifice.

Artnelson Concordia, the Santa Barbara ethnic studies consultant has become similarly controversial for both bringing Aztec chants to the classroom, and bringing on arguably antisemitic influences into the ethnic studies curriculum. In an attempt to clear the air between the Santa Barbara Jewish community and ethnic studies activists, Dan Meisel, the head of the local ADL chapter, moderated an outreach event with Concordia at B’nai B’rith synagogue earlier this month. His role in the event was puzzling, given Meisel’s role and the ADL’s explicit condemnation of the same ESMC Concordia helped author several years ago.

According to witnesses I have interviewed, Concordia, flanked by Santa Barbara District Superintendent Hilda Maldonado and Assistant Superintendent Shawn Carey, opened by inviting the congregation to participate by reading a Luis Valdez poem based upon what he called  Mayan tradition. After presenting his definition of ethnic studies (an analysis of racial power dynamics in America based upon a Marxist “critical consciousness” lens), the floor opened for only a few minutes of Q&A.

Members of the Jewish community expressed their concern over the complete lack of Jewish representation in the ethnic studies curriculum.  Jillian Wittman, a Jewish member of the B’nai B’rith synagogue who attended the event, asked, “how is our Jewish ethnicitiy represented in our school district?” Of primary concern was whether they would be treated as “oppressed” or “oppressors.” In the wake of both the 20th century and modern upticks in antisemitic violence, many Jews are understandably opposed to being cast as “oppressors” who weaponize their “whiteness” to subjugate people of color.

“[Concordia] didn’t really like my question,” Wittman tells me in an interview.  He deflected from the question by saying “Ok, we need to focus on Jews of color.”  Concordia elaborated by saying that having an ethnic studies class focus on Jews would be like having a gender studies course discuss the experiences of men. He would not say whether “white” Jews would be considered oppressed, despite their experience of the Holocaust.  The air in the synagogue was immediately pervaded with “staleness,” Wittman describes.

“His answer floored everybody,” another attendee of the event, Clare Lopez, says.  “It’s really contemptuous of the concerns of Jewish parents” who Lopez says are sensitive to the history of Jewish oppression and modern anti-Semitism.

Wittman and Lopez’s recounting of the event was corroborated by an email obtained by me that detailed a conversation between a Jewish father, Sullivan Israel, and Dan Meisel, the head of the ADL.  Israel expressed concern to Meisel that “We allowed [Concordia] to come to one of our synagogues, and lecture us (according to an eyewitness who told me) on why Jews do not deserve a place in the curriculum, because we aren’t ‘people of color.'” 

Sheridan Rosenberg, who participated in the event and is a leader of Fair Education Santa Barbara, which “advocates for our children, students, and teachers in our public schools and universities,” told me that she found the event “deeply disrespectful not only to the Jewish community but also to the community writ large.”

ADL head Dan Meisel did not reply to an email asking for his response to the event by press time.  Neither did Concordia.

Concordia’s comments are offensive, completely ignoring the historical context of Jewish oppression (despite the color of their skin). The fact that he made these comments in a synagogue as a part of a Jewish outreach event rubs salt into the wound.

Why, then, did Meisel agree to moderate Concordia’s event at B’nai B’rith? The Jewish community did not have their fears assuaged. Many weren’t even included, and those that were invited received lackluster answers to their valid concerns. Yet the subtext of Concordia’s words was clear: ethnic studies is not for Jews. It’s coming to your schools, labeling you an oppressor, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The Jewish community in Santa Barbara (and throughout the world) should respond to these activists accordingly.


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Someone please explain White Jew vs Jew of Color to this Gentile over here?

    Color Lives Matter (CLM). Principles are fluid in an ethical or relativistic religion.

    So sick of these malignant cretins.

    henrybowman in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 1, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    I think he’s asking, “what Jews aren’t white?” Nobody’s answering him.

    Milhouse in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 2, 2021 at 12:41 am

    It’s pretty simple. Some Jews look white, some don’t. Some Jews’ ancestors spent 1000 or more years in Europe, and look European, some Jews’ ancestors lived elsewhere and look different. Some have quite dark skin, or even completely black skin. They’re all Jews; but to this racist only the non-white ones matter.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Milhouse. | November 2, 2021 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks Mills…I can always count on you for a straightforward answer, even if blunt and frustrated at times.

        avi natan in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 2, 2021 at 1:17 pm

        Almost all Jews are white.
        Falashas are black skinned but like other NiloSahahan people and those of the Horn of Africa are unrelated west African Bantus
        And white has a spectrum from polar bear to shades of Brown

          Milhouse in reply to avi natan. | November 2, 2021 at 11:25 pm

          “Almost all Jews are white.”

          Far from true. A lot are, but there are a lot with quite dark skins, and a significant number who are black.

      guyjones in reply to Milhouse. | November 2, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      All true. What makes the Dhimmi-crats parsing of Jews into “white” and “non-white” categories so idiotic and offensive is that all Jews historically originate from the middle east. Only centuries spent in exile (along with some presumed marriages outside of the Tribe) have resulted in skin pigmentation variances.

      I’ve also seen Turks who are as white as anybody. I assume the Dhimmi-crats wouldn’t mind if we referred to them as “white Muslims.”

    Growing up in NYC, a gentile among many Jewish denominations, the following as first in a 10-part series, begins to explains Judaism in an even, comprehensive way; read the 10-part series. After many decades it put in perspective things I “knew” but were not discussed; and, why if a “practicing Christian” meets a “devout Jew” they make a spiritual connections. [The series will also explain why most (even those mentioned in the article above) are not Jews – they like the identity for the “victim-hood”, and virtue of being “chosen”.]:

      Milhouse in reply to Sisu. | November 3, 2021 at 10:38 am

      The first three installments were a bit interesting, though rather superficial, and then I hit the paywall. But based on those three installments I’ve got one very major objection: Contrary to the writer’s assertion, apostasy does not invalidate someone’s Jewish status, and a child born to an apostate Jewish woman, and raised in a foreign religion, is still Jewish, just like a child born to a secular Jewish woman and raised an atheist. So DiFi is a Jew, because her mother’s parents were Jews despite their apostasy. So was Karl Marx, again despite his parents’ apostasy. And so, despite his not knowing anything about it, was that wonderful man John Cardinal O’Connor. He never knew that his mother was the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi in Connecticut; he served God and humanity the best way he knew how. But as far as Jewish law is concerned he was a Jew all along, and when he got to the Next World he would have found out.

    SBparent in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 9, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    From Who are Jews of Color (JOC)?

    Jews of Color is a pan-ethnic term that is used to identify Jews whose family origins are originally in African, Asian or Latin-American countries. Jews of Color may identify as Black, Latino/a, Asian-American or of mixed heritage such as biracial or multi-racial.

    Due to several factors, Mizrachi and Sephardi Jews from North African and Arab lands vary in whether or not they self-identify as “Jews of Color.”

    Santa Barbara was the chosen home of one our nation’s foremost “tolerance” leaders (the now deceased) Joni Meisel, wedded to Paul, one of the two Meisel brothers who cared deeply about humanity, this country, and our Constitution. I often wish I could hear what she or brother-in-law Harris would say now about the confusion between tolerance and misguided CRT.

Jews of Color. People of Color. A color bloc, a racist designation. Diversity [dogma].

“Concordia elaborated by saying that having an ethnic studies class focus on Jews would be like having a gender studies course discuss the experiences of men.”

This right here is the problem. It’s not gender studies if you aren’t studying both genders. It’s feminism…call your political indoctrination spade the spade that it is! The fact that this asshole thinks that is some kind of biting critique is indicative of why our society faces the shredded fabric that it has today. “Inclusivity” is the new “tolerance”…remember when tolerance was preached and then scrapped when the right turned the tolerance argument around on the left? That’s why the left moved on to “inclusivity” and will bait and switch that with something new as they slow boil the frogs in the pot.

    henrybowman in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 1, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    White isn’t a color.
    Men isn’t a gender.
    Christianity isn’t a belief system.
    Our money’s still good, though, they’ll take it.

      lawgrad in reply to henrybowman. | November 3, 2021 at 10:27 am

      C-SPAN has a call-in program, and a person with an African American voice called in to say, “You remember when you were a kid and had a box of Crayola crayons? There was a White colored crayon in there. So, white is a color, and when you say “people of color” that includes white people too.”

Remind me…. what “color” were the Jews in ancient Egypt or in the concentration camps?

    Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | November 2, 2021 at 12:42 am

    The Jews in ancient Egypt were brown. The ones in the camps were mostly light-colored.

      artichoke in reply to Milhouse. | November 2, 2021 at 8:52 am

      Source for that statement about the Jews in ancient Egypt?

        avi natan in reply to artichoke. | November 2, 2021 at 1:22 pm

        The only intact fossilized body from the second temple era in Jerusalem was a white skinned red head

        Milhouse in reply to artichoke. | November 2, 2021 at 11:29 pm

        Nega’im 2:1 contrasts the Germans’ white skin and the Africans’ black skin with Jews, whose skin is the color of boxwood. Granted that is some 1500 years later, but it’s likely that not much changed in that interval, because there was no major geographic change in where Jews lived.

      avi natan in reply to Milhouse. | November 2, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      Brown is a shade in the white spectrum
      My Sephardic wife is white and darker than biracial Barrie

        Milhouse in reply to avi natan. | November 2, 2021 at 11:31 pm

        “Brown is a shade in the white spectrum”

        Huh? That not only makes no sense, it’s pretty racist. Brown is not white, any more than it’s black, And Yemenis are pretty dark.

          avi natan in reply to Milhouse. | November 3, 2021 at 9:49 pm

          There is no “ brown “ race.
          Are the only white people those from Ireland? Jews are white , Arabs are white , Iranians are white, Turks are white, swarthy Goebbles was white” the white race spans many shades , not just the Nazi ideal

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | November 4, 2021 at 1:15 am

          That is a very racist conception of “white”.

    avi natan in reply to alaskabob. | November 2, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    And lighter than the white Copts

White Jews are the smart ones, I think is the distinction.

They fail to take into account that Jews have a very high verbal IQ and a tendency to whine, an formidable political combination.

Steven Brizel | November 1, 2021 at 9:16 pm

Ethnic studies as it is being implemented around the US has a strongly anti Semitic ideological component and should be fought by whatever legal mains are available


CRT totally ignores one of my more important ethnicities (yeah, the original multi-culti, multi-racial, universal man) ~ to wit: The SKOLT SA’AMI

Although just a part of my background I inherited a number of genes of concern ~ love cold weather, can see in the dark like it’s daylight, and spare red light receptors ~ and in 1638 the Scandinavians began transporting as many of them as they could catch to North America to cut down trees.

Today we have about 9 million members in America, a few dozen in Finland, and a few thousand in Russia.

My people cut down the forests to make room for you’all to farm and by gol’ that should be the beginning of American history. Not some other thing!

    henrybowman in reply to Billybob9. | November 1, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    Kansas thanks you for your beneficience and flatitude.


    Perhaps some readers will endeavor to understand the significance of your comment. … I would add that as Finland did not exist until 1917 and was a protectorate of Sweden from 12th to early 19th century when Russia took control of the territory; and many names were attributed to the people therefrom given diverse and unknown ethnic language origins.

    Building further on your initial “universal man” perhaps readers (especially the CRT crowd) would also find interesting that Finns who came to America were not “white” and waited until 1908 for the US District Court in Duluth, MN to declare them “human beings” aka “white … due to dilution” (John Svan v United States Government):

    “John Svan was born in Finland and calls himself a Finn. He now petitions the Court to be admitted a citizen of the United States. The granting of this petition is opposed by the Government on the ground that being a Finn he is a Mongolian and not a “White-person” within the meaning of Sec.2169. United States Rev.Stat., which provides that “The provisions of this title shall apply to aliens being free white persons and to aliens of African nativity and to, persons of African descent.”” (Excerpt of Court’s findings)

    Additionally, it was in 1638 that Swedes brought the “Forest People”, “burn beaters” (as virtual “indentured servants” / captives) from what is now Finland to Delaware settlement for the reason you state – their technique of “cut and burn” clearing to make farmable land.

    There is also strong evidence that “America’s ‘log cabin’” is in fact a variation on the “Forest People’s” woodland cabin.

    Separately, let us not forget America despite an alliance abandon the Finns to the Russians and then Germany at the beginning of WWII. Yet, many first and second generation Americans of Finnish descent following the “Great Migration” of the late 1800s are true heroes of America’s success during the 1900s.

    I do have one question for you: As far as I can discover today Finnish-Americans are hard pressed to muster one million; and thus are such a small minority that no one cares. What is your source for “9 million” ?

      tbonesays in reply to Sisu. | November 2, 2021 at 3:52 pm

      “White” appears to be a 19th Century construct that lumps together a lot of European nations and ethnicities. I always wonder who drew the borders and decided where people stopped being white

        Kwiznos Haagendazs in reply to tbonesays. | November 3, 2021 at 2:08 pm

        “White” appears to be a 19th Century construct…

        The first Congress (1790) passed a law limiting naturalization to “free white person[s].” The idea that “white” is some deeply confusing term is a late-19th century invention.

          I don’t know how reliable the following is in total, but for purposes of this comment it suffices to explain under the heading “Codifying the “White Race” in Law” – Virginia is said to be first in 1691. (I recall elsewhere reading an earlier date but do not have ready access to the source.)

          I don’t understand the significance of your second sentence. What is confusing ?

          My understanding is it was the Scots and British who first used “white” to self promote their lording over all other than their subjects, regardless of their non-subject’s skin tone. As voluntary servitude was obtained from certain lower classes they could move into the class of “whites”. Nevertheless, titles of nobility and letters of academic superiority continue among the self promoting British and Scots.

          I find the only individuals who actually care about race are the self loathing, insecure and self anointed leaders of whatever race, ethnic group or religion they claim to lord over and represent.

          It is actually quite funny were it not so tragically evidence of willful stupidity and a need for some meaningful purpose in life.

healthguyfsu | November 1, 2021 at 7:59 pm
Someone please explain White Jew vs Jew of Color to this Gentile over here?

Writing in the abstract (i.e., without reference to this Concordia guy or his rubbish), there are Jews who would be considered white, black, far east Asian, and the like, just like there are Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and so on who would be considered white, black, far east Asian, and the like. If I, a white Jew and my doctor’s technician, who is a black Jew, were to confront a white, non-Jewish racist, chances are very high that my doctor’s technician will encounter much more racism than I would, particularly since that hypothetical white racist just might not know that I’m Jewish while the hypothetical white racist certainly would realize that my doctor’s technician is black.

By the way, do I believe that there is a significant number of white American racists? Well, I bet there are a multiple times more Americans who are Antifa or sympathize with it.

Ethiopian Jews are a large population of black Jews.

Actor Yaphet Kotto’s (who died only 7 months ago) father was a black, Cameroonian Jew.

Until late in WWII, Jews were considered the “Hebrew’ race…Secretary Morgenthau finally convinced Roosevelt to consider them white so they could allow more Jews in to the country..due to the quota system..
So, there’s that…..

    Kwiznos Haagendazs in reply to rebelgirl. | November 2, 2021 at 10:20 am

    The immigration quota system limited entry by nationality, not race. Classification as “white” rather “Jew” made no difference under the law at that time.

“Concordia elaborated by saying that having an ethnic studies class focus on Jews would be like having a gender studies course discuss the experiences of men.”

And shouldn’t it do that? Otherwise it’s leaving out one of the most important genders. This guy’s really full of it.

The Left is inherently antisemitic. They’ll struggle for show to deal with Jewish POCs, but ultimately they’ll end up with Jews being part of the enemy.

Here’s where it gets grand: the pseudo-Jews, those who have very little do actually do with their religion (the Bnai Brith types, the Conference-of-Important-Rabbi types, the Jews who are never-Trumpers because of their politics), they cannot process how these people would put them in a corner (cancel culture if not worse) even though they think they’ve been friends and “marched in Selma”.

The Left doesn’t care for any Jews, even leftist ones.


Forced Medicine is Nazi Mediine according to the Nuremberg Protocols. Why aren’t all Jews making an issue of it? I do.