Marion Barry Defends "Dirty" Asian Comments

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April 6 2012 4:41 PM

Marion Barry Defends "Dirty" Asian Comments

(Marion Barry is backpedaling after uttering comments seen as offensive to the Asian community. Former Washington, DC, mayor Marion Barry attends an appearance by Illinois Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama 18 July 2007 at THEARC community center in Washington, DC.)

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Marion Barry may have won Washington D.C.’s Council Ward 8 primary, but his political career may be about to end.

The former city mayor is backpedaling after comments he made suggesting “dirty” Asian-owned businesses in the community should be replaced instead by African-American businesses.


Video of the comments, first posted by a local television affiliates, quickly went viral. Barry soon took to Twitter to defend himself, saying his statements were taken out of context and that he merely wanted to improve the overall business community.

He also posted examples of businesses that he said “need to improve.”  Many might say the real blight of the district is certain politicians’ cultural insensitivities. But Barry’s had worse offenses—at least he’s not being arrested for crack cocaine possession, like he was in 1990.


Video produced by Krishnan Vasuvedan

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.


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