Barry Disparages 'Dirty' Asian-Owned Businesses | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Barry Disparages 'Dirty' Asian-Owned Businesses

Councilman later apologizes for offense

Play associated audio

D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry is in some hot water over his remarks disparaging Asian-owned businesses in his ward.

After his blow-out victory in Tuesday's primary, Council member Barry was in a festive mood. Video from the event shows the former mayor dancing with supporters. He took to Twitter, and was an immediate hit, at one point coining the term "Twaggin" -- as in tweeting with swagger.

During his victory speech, however, Barry made these remarks, which were recorded by NBC Washington: "We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go... We need African-American business to be able to take their places too."

D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, who was the first public official to come out and criticize Barry, said: "There's no place for that in our city, singling out any minority and then isolating them with remarks like that."

Later, Mayor Vincent Gray issued a statement saying he was deeply disappointed. And D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who worked with Barry in the South during the Civil Rights movement, called the comments offensive.

He told reporters he was talking about the Asian-American carry-out businesses that sell food. He says he wants them to clean up their stores, sell healthier food and contribute more to the community. He blamed reporters forstirring up the controversy.

"The media ought to apologize for taking for one statement out of 10 - 15 statements I made at that great victory party. You ought to apologize, I want apologies from you, from everybody."

After initially defending his comments, Barry later apologized on Twitter, saying he didn't mean to offend the Asian-American community. He says he was referring to "the less-than-stellar Asian American businessmen in Ward 8" and not all Asian Americans.

About 6 percent of all D.C. businesses are owned by Asians, while 28 percent are owned by African Americans, according to 2007 census estimates cited by DCentric.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, April 21, 2015

You can immerse yourself in the life and music of Gustav Mahler or hear what students from highly-respected music conservatories have to offer.
NPR

Blue Bell Widens Recall To All Of Its Products Over Listeria Worries

The CDC has called it "a complex and ongoing multistate outbreak of listeriosis occurring over an extended period of several years."
WAMU 88.5

Slate Of Criminal Justice Reforms In Maryland Await Gov. Hogan's Signature

Maryland lawmakers passed a handful of bills this week aimed at getting non-violent criminals out of prisons and back in the workforce.

NPR

What Can #NOLASCHOOLS Teach Us?

Michel Martin is hosting a conversation about education in New Orleans, ten years after Hurricane Katrina sparked a transformation of public schools there. Add your voice at #NOLASCHOOLS.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.