Marion Barry Explains Offensive Asian Remarks

Marion Barry Explains Offensive Asian Remarks

Marion Barry says he was talking about cultural differences when he called Asian shops in his district "dirty."

Published April 23, 2012

Former D.C. mayor Marion Barry, who currently serves on the District’s city council, sought to explain a comment he made earlier this month in which he accused the Asian business owners in his Ward 8 district of operating “dirty shops.” According to Barry, he was actually observing “cultural,” not “racial,” differences that exist in the district, which is plagued by low incomes and high unemployment.


“There’s a cultural difference between a number of ethnic groups, whether it’s Hispanics or whether it’s Asian or white people,” Barry said in an interview on Reason TV. “There is a cultural difference because of our socialization, because of our segregation, discrimination. All of this adds to it and affects every aspect of our life.”


Barry found himself in the center of yet another controversy after he said in an April 3 victory speech that Asian shops “ought to go” and be replaced by African-American business owners.


“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” he said after winning his city council bid. “They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now.”


He ultimately apologized for his “choice of words” after igniting harsh criticism from fellow lawmakers, including Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who both expressed disappointment.



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(Photo: Courtesy Reason TV/Youtube)

Written by Joyce Jones


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