Uncle Ike’s Racist Wife

and their legacy of systemic racism

Linda vs Tracy

I was recently informed that one of my “detractors” is the wife of the owner of Uncle Ike’s, Ian Eisenberg. At first, I didn’t know who Linda Kadowaki was, so I did some sleuthing and discovered she’s married to and has children with Eisenberg. One of their sons attends a school in Seattle Public Schools (SPS), which, apparently, gives Linda the (perceived) right to Karen the fuck out of me with SPS. As soon as I was tipped off about her, I did a records request and came up with this series of emails between Kadowaki and several folks at SPS, including my direct supervisor, Diane DeBacker.

Uncle Ike’s has become one of Seattle’s gentrification poster boys, opening a store on the corner of 23rd and Union in 2014 only two blocks away from Garfield High School and other schools in SPS. When I first moved to Seattle in 2010, my first job was at the Key Bank on 23rd and Union, which I later learned was the site of the first Black owned bank in Seattle. It’s gone now, as are many other Black-owned businesses and homes that have been replaced with businesses like Uncle Ike’s. To add insult to injury, South Seattle Emerald reported that the 23rd and Union store earned an average of $13k per day in their first week in a neighborhood that is historically home to Black people who are disproportionately impacted by drug-related crimes.

So, I wasn’t completely shocked when I learned Linda is married to the racist gentrifier, Ian Eisenberg, but it was interesting to learn that she identifies as Asian and uses that as evidence that she’s not racist. 

It’s also interesting to know that she reported me to SPS hoping to get me fired for my “relentless… ‘anti white supremacy’ dogma,” and my reverse racism against white people (it’s a lot like the anti-antifa-ers). She included a screenshot from a Facebook group as evidence that I am a reverse racist and bully people. In the screenshot she provided, I’m explaining the Model Minority Myth about Asian-Americans who tend to do the dirty work of white racists in order to gain some sort of legitimacy in white spaces. It’s nothing I wouldn’t discuss in professional development, and I regularly taught 6th graders about the Model Minority Myth. According to Linda, she is bullied when someone teaches her history.

Linda vs Ethnic Studies

Her emails don’t stop with attacking me. She wrote several emails to Sara Pritchett and the district ombudsman complaining about the implementation of ethnic studies curriculum, where she admits to harassing teachers who taught ethnic studies.

Apparently, Joseph Goebbels wanted people to learn about their identities, because Linda wrote a lengthy email complaining about her son’s teacher spending so much time (less than a month) on students learning about their identities and their peers’ identities in history class.

It’s sad to me that she wants her son to believe his identity and his family aren’t part of US history, but she’s really complaining about the prompt, “Tell us something that people don’t know about you”? That’s a typical beginning of the year question for nearly all classrooms, even those without ethnic studies. What is she teaching her mixed-race children about who they are and their place in this country? 

Linda also feels bullied that her son is expected to refer to enslaved Africans as enslaved persons, and I bully parents for correcting their racist language.

I think Linda needs an ethnic studies course more than her children do, but I digress. Her and her husband seem to be throwing their racist weight around all over Seattle, but what’s more noteworthy is people are listening.

Linda and Seattle Public Schools

At no point in these email threads did any person question the legitimacy of Linda’s complaints about me or about ethnic studies. It’s interesting that a school district that claims to be anti-racist gives the time of day to people like Linda. How can educators be expected to implement anti-racist curricula and practices when Lindas and Karens can write emails calling for them to be fired, and those emails are used as evidence by SPS administrators to reprimand or fire anti-racist educators?

Currently, there are no policies or protections for educators to carry out the anti-racist policies and goals being created by the school board and SPS administration, including ethnic studies and Black studies. Linda teaming up with SPS to attack ethnic studies is evidence that educators not only need protection from racist families in SPS, but also racist administrators in SPS. And while policies are important, administrators who have a deep understanding of what systemic and institutionalized racism look like are also desperately needed. How many eyes were on these emails with not one person understanding that Linda, her complaints, and SPS acting on them is institutional racism? That’s unacceptable in a district claiming to be anti-racist. 

Anti-racism will never be a reality in SPS with current leadership. Nearly everyone in leadership has been there for decades with little to no results. Those who are new to their positions, including Juneau, DeBacker, and Kokx, have taken the district backwards.

Published by

Tracy Castro-Gill

Seattle Public Schools Ethnic Studies Program Manager| 2019 PSESD Regional Teacher of the Year| Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board Member| PhD Student

3 thoughts on “Uncle Ike’s Racist Wife”

  1. Tracy,
    Fascinating! I expressed similar sentiments to my friends about SPS attempting to teach ethnic studies prior to reading your article. As for the Karen you spoke of there are plenty more who are just as nefarious! Best regards ✊🏿

    Like

  2. Thank you for continuing to speak up and bring receipts. I find it interesting that Linda complains about you “bullying” people on Facebook when I have personally been verbally attacked by her husband on social media more than once because I posted something he found challenging to his beliefs. He is relentless and holier-than-thou and it is not surprising to me that she thinks she has the authority to try and disrupt Ethnic Studies in SPS. Additionally, as someone who spent 18 months on an SPS task force that was supposedly concerned with increasing racial equity, I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be employed by them. There are lots of phrases and promises thrown around by SPS staff, but no actual desire or will to make the difficult decisions to shift the culture and structure of the school system to actually address racial equity. Again, I thank you for your efforts to continue to shine a light on the real issues. Here’s hoping your words don’t fall in to a black hole

    Liked by 1 person

  3. She honestly sounds like a Trumpaloon. I bet she says things like “all lives matter” and “it’s okay to be white”, aka racist dog whistles. Probability against face masks, doesn’t believe in climate change, pro-forced birth, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s