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Marion Barry Blasts Asian Americans, then Apologizes
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After winning the Ward 8 primary, with 73 percent of the vote, assuring him of another four-year term as the council seat, Marion Barry reversed the mood of triumph with comments many find racist and disrespectful. As reported on the news Wednesday, Marion used his victory speech to condemn Asian Americans.

“We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops,” he said “They ought to go. I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), told Barry she was “stunned by the offensive nature of the comments,” and also, “reminded Barry of how long she had known him and the values they first shared when they were students together in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the South fighting for racial justice.”

  
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By Thursday, Barry had eased up on his comments, tweeting that he was “sorry for offending the Asian American community” with an “admittedly bad choice of words.” Yet he held to his concern over the conditions of certain Ward 8 restaurants owned mostly by Asians.

“I admit, I could and should have said it differently. But the facts are still very present in our daily lives here,” he tweeted. “We are tired of sub-standard treatment, tired of being kept [at] arms length distance, tired of the lack of community engagement.”

Barry said in an interview that his apology was “as solid as Marion Barry can make it. And believe it, because I have a history of not doing anything to purposely disparage any group of people.” He said this despite upsetting voters by opposing gay marriage in 2009.

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