Calls are mounting for former Washington, D.C. mayor–and Obama delegate–Marion Barry to resign his delegate status after he said last week that Asian small business owners owned “dirty” shops, and that they “ought to go,” to be replaced by African-Americans.
Barry inserted his foot in his mouth yet again last weekend when he visited an Asian grocery store to boost his public image, and presumably do some damage control.
Mission not accomplished.
Barry visited Peter Cho, who has owned a grocery store in Washington, D.C. since 1984, and promptly told a Washington Post reporter that Cho was an an “example of a good Asian.”
Barry made those comments about Cho because Barry said Cho hires black workers from the community and participates in community activities, such as giving kids in the community backpacks full of school supplies before the school years starts.
Besides his comments, the Washington Post reporter found things during Barry’s visit that undercut many of Barry’s arguments he made last week in defense of his comments that Asians “ought to go.”
Barry complained that Asian-owned business had plexiglass barriers, and it turns out Cho, the grocer, installed plexiglass in his store after he was shot during a robbery. Further, Barry complained Asian-owned stores did not main what he deemed proper “upkeep” but the Washington Post reporter discovered that many of these small business struggle to make a profit and making improvements to their buildings would cause severe financial burdens to their businesses.
Finally, Cho also told the reporter that Barry “hasn’t been active” recently in the community, which gives Barry even less ground to stand on regarding his racist comments.
The Washington Post reporter put it best: “In light of his performance this past week, Barry could contribute best by closing his mouth and helping the stores find cash for a facelift.”