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Marion Barry: Asians, Dirty Shops “Ought to Go”

Look, there are some people who are clearly immobile in the politics game. One of the most unrelenting and stationary figures of our time is the ever-boisterous former D.C. mayor, Marion Barry. Neither crack-cocaine nor jail could stop him from a successful political career, as he was recently voted as the Democratic choice for Ward 8 Councilman. But, during a recent speech at his celebration party, he took time to address Asian business in his ward: "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."

While we can all agree that more Black businesses are needed, his choice of words came off harsh. After refusing to back down on his comment made Tuesday night, by Thursday afternoon he spoke to the AP to apologize:

"I want to express my deep apology for offending some members of the Asian community and the D.C. community. I have a solid record of relationships with the Asian community,” he said.

Adding, "We need businesspeople who'll be a part of the community, not exploit the community, give jobs to those of us in the community, and to contribute to the well-being of our community, have fresh vegetables and fruits and et cetera. Ward 8 residents are spending their hard-earned dollars in these [Asian] stores because they are the only stores in the immediate neighborhoods; my constituents want respect, too," he said in a statement. "It is to these less-than-stellar Asian-American businessmen in Ward 8 that my remarks were directed."

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