A few weeks back, former DC Mayor and one time world’s most famous crackhead John, Marion Barry, lashed out at Asian-owned shops as being “dirty” and saying that they “oughta go” and be replaced by African American business owners. Here is the video (and the impressive fashion statement) posted by an ardent supporter.
After a few days of pressure Barry, who currently serves on the DC city council (because democracy is a wonderful thing), went on to issue something of an apology to Washington’s Asian-American community.
While he did address the concerns of Asians. who make up 3.5 percent of District residents and Asian-owned businesses that make up 6 percent of the District’s economy, he did not step away from some of the specific criticisms he made with respect to carry-out restaurants.
The statement, issued via Twitter, reads:
I’m very sorry for offending the Asian-American community. Although taken out of context by many about the conditions of some Ward 8 carryouts, the comment was meant to convey that some stores need better service to and engagement with the community than what is provided now. To improve food places in Ward 8, owners have to move beyond status quo. Take down the plexiglass, offer healthy food, keep [business] clean and inviting. And anyone NOT from Ward 8, you may want to actually EXPERIENCE the difference of what IS and what CAN BE here in [Southeast]. I admit, I could and should have said it differently. But the facts are still very present in our daily lives here.We are tired of sub-standard treatment, tired of being kept an arms length distance, tired of the lack of community engagement. As stated before, our neighborhoods have made remarkable improvement over the last 7 years. Our retail needs to catch up. It costs nothing to keep the store clean. Nothing to add healthy items. Nothing to know your patrons. Nothing to have the will to do better. I do hope that as much attention focused on my admittedly bad choice of words will be given to the very real and present retail needs of [Southeast]
Not much of an apology and yet…it get’s worse.
In a bid to restore his image (a seemingly never ending task) Barry soon visited local Korean-American shopowner Peter Cho, who has owned a grocery store in Washington, D.C. since 1984, and promptly told a Washington Post reporter that Cho was an an “example of a good Asian.”
A “good Asian?”
After Barry left, Cho told reporters that he installed plexiglass in his shop after being shot during a robbery and went on to say that Barry “hasn’t been active” recently in the community (at least not as active as local gunmen) and that “Mr. Barry is like a flip-flop. He says one thing and then turns around and says something different.” I guess that makes Barry a “bad African?”
But wait, there’s more
Over the weekend, in an on the spot interview with ReasonTV, Barry was asked why he made the racial comments against Asians and Barry replied that his comments “were not racial” and that “There is a cultural difference between a number of ethnic groups.”
Judging by his demeanor and speech pattern he is certainly off that crack, and that is good, but he keeps tossing out that 95% Asian ownership number which doesn’t jibe with government numbers of Asians contributing 6% to local economy (which is nearly double for their demographic of 3.5%) so perhaps his drug of choice has changed to something that affects memory loss?
How this guy is still in office is remarkable. Even more remarkable is that none of the heavy hitters in the Democratic establishment have adequately addressed the issue. Granted, it is an election year, and Barry is a live grenade.
I will close with my heartfelt thanks to the fine voters in the DC district and their exceptionally adept discernment when choosing who to leads them. It’s been tough, perhaps, for the entrepreneurial disinclined, to watch one foreign ethnic group after another immigrate to the country, grab a nice chunk of the local economy and then move to better neighborhoods only to be replaced by another ethnic group from somewhere else.
Worry not Marion, those Asians will be out of your neighborhood soon enough taking 6.5% of the economy with them. They should be applauded not singled out as a detriment.
Cue audio track, “We are the worrrrrrrllllldddd.”