Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry apologized on Twitter late Thursday for calling Asian businesses “dirty” — one of several racially charged comments he made that touched off a firestorm of criticism yesterday.
“I’m very sorry for offending the Asian American community,” Barry, who recently won the city’s Council Ward 8 primary, said on Twitter.
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“I admit, I could and should have said it differently,” he said in another tweet.
Barry drew the ire of the Asian American community after a video of his remarks from earlier in the week went viral. Footage showed the former mayor saying to supporters: “we got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops … they ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”
Soon after the video took off, Barry launched into full defense mode, tweeting out pictures of local Asian restaurants and insisted that his comments were being misrepresented.
“my comments were taken out of context & construed as disparaging 2 entire Asian biz community. we DO deserve our bizs t/b nice places in W8!” Barry said on Twitter at one point.
But he only added fuel to fire when he offered his opinion of Asian-owned restaurants in an interview. “A number of these restaurants serve high caloric food, bad food, et cetera, but the more important thing, they don’t participate in the community…That’s what I object to, I don’t care who it is.”
(Also on POLITICO: Marion Barry, through the years)
Even after the eventual apology, Barry stood by his earlier charge that the media had taken his earlier remarks out of context.
“[T]he comment was meant to convey that some stores need better service to and engagement with the community than what is provided now,” he said. “To improve food places in Ward8, owners have to move beyond status quo.Take down the plexiglass, offer healthy food, keep [businesses] clean [and] inviting.”
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was just one of many local politicians – alongside local business owners and members of the Asian community — to condemn Barry’s remarks.
“I am deeply disappointed by Councilmember Barry’s comment,” Gray said in a statement. “There is no room in this wonderfully diverse city for comments that disparage anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Our energies are better spent focused on building everyone up rather than tearing anyone down. that is how we achieve the vision of One City.”
TeaPartyWire.com – Tea Party News by and for Tea Party Members | Blog | Marion Barry: 'Dirty' Asian-Owned Businesses 'Ought To Go'
Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, after winning his primary on Tuesday for city council in Ward 8, ranted against Asian small business owners in the District and said, “they ought to go.”
“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said in remarks that were captured by a local television station. “They ought to go … and we need African-Americans to take their place.”
This rhetoric is not only anti-capitalistic, it’s dangerous, especially in light of the charged racial situation that the media has created this month surrounding Trayvon Martin. Barry, as a community leader, should know that his words can have consequences.
Barry isn’t the only prominent politician to make such statements. When black rioters looted largely Asian-owned businesses in Los Angeles after the Rodney King trial, Waters, as a freshman member of Congress that year, seemed to be encouraging, or at least excusing, the rioting. she called the riots a “rebellion” and railed against the evils of Korean-owned businesses on the House floor.
This type of rhetoric is not new to the infamous Barry, who is more infamously associated with crack cocaine and prostitutes than with his governing record. In 2010, he accused a white D.C. administrator of racist hiring practices despite not having any evidence to back up his assertion.of course, the mainstream media will not put heat on the liberal Barry because it directly undercuts the storyline (“Minorities Can’t Be Prejudiced!”) that the mainstream media wants to forcibly feed the public.