Marion Barry, the 76-year old Washington D.C. councilman who was imprisoned in 1990 after a video surfaced of him smoking crack, is making headlines again with disparaging remarks he made on Tuesday about Asian-run businesses.
“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” he said during his primary election victory rally. They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to take their places, too.”
After public backlash at his comments, Barry amended his statement somewhat and apologized for offending the Asian-American community, but didn’t go back on his original comment.
“Ward 8 residents are spending their hard-earned dollars in these 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.”
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the district in Congress and worked with Barry in the civil rights movement, said she was “stunned by the offensive nature of the comments.”
Barry, who has served four terms as mayor, has only lost one election in nearly 40 years in politics despite his tendency for very public gaffes.
So did Romney transfer the “day after election gaffe” curse to Marion Barry? Is it like the pie in “Thinner”?