Entries in Asian-Americans (3)


Marion Barry: ‘Dirty [Asian] Shops’ Comment Was ‘Not Racial’

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry doubled down on comments he made earlier this month that the “dirty shops” owned by Asians in his Southeast city council district “ought to go.”

“That’s not racial,” Barry, now a city councilman representing the majority-African-American Ward 8, told Reason TV.  “The fact is that 95 percent of the carry-outs in Ward 8 are owned or managed by Asians.  So I’m finished with that.”

After winning the Democratic primary in his re-election bid for city council, Barry, 76, said in an April 3 speech that Asians’ shops “ought to go” so that African-American businesspeople will “be able to take their places.”

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said in his election-night speech.  “They ought to go.  I’m going to say that right now.”

He sought to explain his criticism in the Reason TV interview, which was posted online Sunday, by citing the “cultural differences” that are present in Ward 8, one of D.C.’s poorest areas with the highest unemployment rate in the nation’s capital city.

“There’s a cultural difference between a number of ethnic groups whether it’s Hispanics or whether it’s Asian or white people,” Barry said.  “There is a cultural difference because of our socialization, because of our segregation, discrimination.  All of this adds to it and affects every aspect of our life.”

Barry’s original comments sparked immediate outrage from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who said he was “deeply disappointed” by Barry’s remarks.

Barry, who served as mayor for sixteen years, apologized for his “choice of words” earlier this month, emphasizing that his comments were only directed to the “less-than-stellar Asian American businessmen” in his ward, not an entire ethnic group.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former DC Mayor Apologizes for Comments on Asians’ ‘Dirty Shops'

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry apologized Thursday evening for comments he made earlier this week regarding Asian business owners, saying in a statement that he was “deeply apologetic for any harm I have caused.”

“I am sorry that my choice of words in expressing my discontent with some of the Asian business owners in my Ward offended the Asian American Community,” he said, emphasizing the word “some” in his statement.

Tuesday night, after winning the Democratic primary election for the District of Colombia city council, on which he has served for the past seven years, Barry seemed to berate the Asian-American business community in his Southeast D.C. district.

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” he said after winning the Democratic Primary for his Ward 8 City Council seat, according to a video posted by NBC 4 in Washington.  “They ought to go.  I’m going to say that right now.  But we need African-American business people to be able to take their places, too.”

The comment evoked a response from current D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Thursday, who said he was “deeply disappointed” by Barry’s remarks.

“There is no room in this wonderfully diverse city for comments that disparage anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation,” Gray said in a statement.  “Our energies are better spent focused on building everyone up rather than tearing anyone down.  That is how we achieve the vision of One City.”

Barry intially took to Twitter on Thursday to clarify his remarks.

“My comments were taken out of context & construed as disparaging 2 entire Asian biz community. We DO deserve our bizs t/b nice places in W8!” read a tweet from his @marionbarryjr Twitter account Thursday afternoon.

The city councilman then tweeted photos of three businesses, two of which seemed to be run by Asians, saying “WE can do a better job.”

“I do NOT disparage the Asian community, but the fact is there r some bizs that can do better!” Barry wrote.

In his statement Thursday evening, Barry continued his scorn of the Asian-owned businesses in Ward 8 that, he said, “don’t reach-out to neighborhood groups, make financial contributions to the neighborhood or, help young people in the neighborhood improve their quality of life.”

“It is to these less than stellar Asian American businessmen in Ward 8 that my remarks were directed, not the whole of Asian businessmen in Ward 8 or, the Asian American population,” Barry said in the statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Gillibrand Calls for Investigation of Military Hazing, Bullying

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A senator is calling on the U.S. Defense Department to conduct a system-wide review of alleged hazing incidents in the military, after eight soldiers in Afghanistan were charged in connection with the death of Army Pvt. Danny Chen, who apparently committed suicide in October.

Chen had told family and friends that he was the target of persistent racial taunts and abusive treatment by his comrades in arms.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, requested the investigation due to concern that Chen's death is a reflection of a larger problem of military hazing.

"I cannot imagine what [Chen's parents] are going through as they mourn the senseless loss of their son," Gillibrand said. "No soldier should have to mentally or physically fear another soldier. There is no room for discrimination and mistreatment in our military. We need to ensure that those responsible for this type of abuse are held accountable and we must take steps to prevent any more tragedies from happening."

"It is outrageous that any man or woman serving our country would be subject to discrimination or harassment," she wrote in a letter to Dr. Joanne Rooney, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

The Army did not say whether the eight soldiers charged actually killed Chen or whether their mistreatment of Chen caused him to kill himself.

Minority advocates have long been concerned about the treatment of Asian Americans in the military. Asian-Americans make up about 5 percent of the U.S. population, but historically have stayed away from the military, making up less than 3 percent of all military recruits.

Chen was the second Asian American to die of apparent suicide in Afghanistan this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio