Former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry apologized for his comments about Asians businesses during his election night victory speech.
On Tuesday Barry won the Democratic primary for the city’s Ward 8 seat with 73 percent of the vote. After his victory was announced he made the disparaging remarks about Asian-owned stores.
“We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses — those dirty shops,” he said.
He continued: “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.”
After an immediate outcry from fellow politicians and members of the community, Barry apologized.
“I want to express my deep apology for offending some members of the Asian community and the D.C. community,” Barry said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I have a solid record of relationships with the Asian community.”
The 76-year-old politician said that the reason he made his comment was because some Asian-owned stores and restaurants don’t respect the local residents and serve food that is not fresh.
“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,” Barry said in a statement. “It is to these less-than-stellar Asian-American businessmen in Ward 8 that my remarks were directed.”
Barry served four terms as mayor of D.C., which was interrupted by a six-month stint in federal prison on a drug charge after video of him smoking crack cocaine emerged in 1990.
With Associated Press