Marion Barry: Too Many Asian-Owned Stores

On the eve that D.C. Councilman Marion Barry soundly won the Ward 8 council race, he made remarks criticizing Asian-owned businesses: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know,” he told a group of supporters on Tuesday. “But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

His remarks, which can be seen in the video below, were recorded by NBC4 Washington.

About 6 percent of all D.C. businesses are owned by Asians, while 28 percent are owned by African Americans, according to 2007 census estimates. There has been tension between Asian shopkeepers in predominately black communities in some cities in the United States. The most well-known display of this came during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when Korean shop owners and black rioters clashed, sometimes violently.

Barry Decries Too Many Asian Stores

At his election victory party, Marion Barry said something should be done about the dirty businesses, operated by Asians, in his ward.

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  • Elijah405

    Indeed, a very nuanced issue that shouldn’t have been reduced to an exercise in bigotry in the way it was stated by Barry. This is a divisive non-starter if one expects to have a conversation that is needed and puts people at odds with one another.

  • Dan

    Could you imagine the reaction if Tommy Wells had said this? 

  • Bluehaire

    It seems there was a time when Barry was not an embarrassment and a joke:

    Ah – the good old days.

  • Be

    he didn’t.  nor does he have the deep history with DC that Barry does. nor does the white community in DC have the same relationship with stores as the black community. 

  • Be

    i’m seeing lots of my friends on facebook agreeing with barry.  yet i don’t see anyone blaming the parents for raising kids on a diet coming from these “dirty stores”.  so much anger and distaste for these stores, but i’m take some extra mumbo sauce with my wings.

  • parkviewj

    Relationship with “stores”…? What are you talking about? Are you saying that the white demographic (40% of the District) doesn’t shop in DC?

  • Be

    no, that’s not what i said.