DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Marion Barry’s Yellow Peril

April 6th, 2012 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

After winning the DC city Council’s Ward 8 primary Tuesday, former mayor and current Councilman Marion Barry said some fantastically creepy and racist things about Asians that harkened straight back to 19th century America’s Yellow Peril, when unemployment was blamed on Chinese immigrants and slogans like “The Chinese must go!” became a political rallying cry, leading to violence committed against Asian workers and businesses.

In his speech to supporters, he stated:

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

Video of Barry’s comments here:

After he was roundly criticized, Barry apologized, saying “I could and should have said it differently,” while maintaining his comments were taken out of context. From Politico:

“[T]he comment was meant to convey that some stores need better service to and engagement with the community than what is provided now,” he said. “To improve food places in Ward 8, owners have to move beyond status quo. Take down the plexiglass, offer healthy food, keep [businesses] clean [and] inviting.”

Uh-huh. Because nothing says “engage the community” like “you ought to get the hell out of this community.”

The worst part of this is how it appears Barry, a Democrat, has drunk the reactionary right’s Kool-Aid. Pit the minorities against one another so they don’t see the big picture! Start a race war among minorities so they don’t notice they’re fighting for scraps! The right-wing has been spinning this bullshit for years to justify institutional bias, whether it’s putting “model minority” Asians at odds with “problem minority” blacks and Latinos to attack affirmative action or “good assimilating” blacks and Latinos against “bad assimilating” gays to defeat marriage equality.

Michelle Malkin seized on Barry’s comments to make this story about “black racism” while simultaneously resorting to the most racist stereotypes possible of black people in her latest syndicated column, “Marion Barry and the Left’s Hatred of Asian Entrepreneurs”–bold type and brackets in the following excerpt are mine:

In Barry’s bizarre world, law-abiding entrepreneurs [ASIANS] who take steps to prevent robberies are the ones who threaten Ward 8′s quality of life — not the armed thugs [BLACKS] who threaten honest livelihoods in the first place. Vigilant wealth creators [ASIANS] taking care of their families? Scourge of D.C. Profanity-spewing drug addicts [BLACKS] inciting hatred against successful achievers [ASIANS] of the American Dream? Model citizens! [sarcasm for BLACKS aka "problem citizens"]

All of this just obscures the big picture, which is the fact that Ward 8 is the poorest district with one of the highest unemployment rates in DC. Painting these issues as a black-Asian problem and putting Ward 8′s residents at odds with one another isn’t going to change any of that.

[Politico: Marion Barry apologizes for 'dirty' Asian comment]

Thanks, Victor and Jasmine!

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5 Responses to “DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Marion Barry’s Yellow Peril”

  1. PBGirl says:

    Wow. I did hear about this but its still shocking. I mean, I have had problems with maybe one or two Asians who have owned a store and thought i was the stereotypical black thief; that doesn’t warrant me to say what he did.

    Richard Aoki was good friends with the founders of black panthers and a lot of Asians fought with us for our rights! Have some damn respect. Marion is what I would call an ignorant ass negro, these type of black people decide not to learn about their past and talk out of their asses.

  2. Tarleton says:

    The Yalies are patting this guy on the back. The establishment is okay with black politicians now. Just so long as they toe the line. Pitting one minority against the other insures weird kind of stability and also entertains the white rich.

  3. xyien says:

    A few years ago I was in a small Vietnamese owned convenience store. A group of black teenagers came in, and they started harassing the store owner. They were throwing things around and cussing him, calling him “gook” and other names. The owner told me it wasn’t an isolated incident, and the police wouldn’t do anything about it. Over the years I got to know a few more Asian business owners like him who runs a small store in a black neighborhood. They shared their stories with me and two admitted that they had developed really racist view toward black people because of what they had experienced.

    Some black people are very hostile toward Asians. I experienced it. But then again, some black were also very hostile toward black immigrants where I lived. They didn’t like the Cape Verdeans and the Haitians that much.

  4. Uchida Oginome says:

    No one should have to compromise their safety to escape charges of racism. If there are problems between Asian business owners and their black customers, those problems are easily solved with a little patience and an open mind on both sides but Barry is touting the old tropes about coldly calculated Asians sending their children to good schools on the backs of poor blacks. Were most of the stores in the poorest areas of DC owned by middle and upper class blacks, he would use his position of authority to propagate the idea that those owners are sellouts and blood-suckers of their own. Or something to that effect. This is an old, easily-revealed trick of misdirection. Barry does not strike me as an intellectual and his ascent to mayor is likely due to his prowess as a politician rather than his knowledge of law or policy. We all know how he fell and as such it is inconceivable to most people, even most of us black people, how the DC electorate could re-elect him and then install him as a city councilman. Their stupidity aside, I just want to point out to disgrasian readers that it is always in the interest of politicians, especially those with no real policy initiatives, to use fear and distrust of the “other” as a way of rallying support for one’s self. Wave the ideological enemy in-front of the crowd and watch them follow the carrot. Some righties like Malkin take the bait as well, using hurtful stereotypes to describe whole swaths of the black community. Now that we know how it feels, Michelle and Barry, do you think either of you could sit in a room together and play nice? Asians and Jews are often characterized by so-called black leaders as “taking money out of our communities” but business owners are not social workers or experts on the historical imbalance of social and economic power that led to the state of many black communities today. Nor are they running charities. If these people have the time to run their mouths about Korean-owned delis, Jewish run pharmacies or Chinese take-out joints, they could be hosting seminars on how 20 or 30 brothers could get together and open their own delis, restaurants and other businesses. Barry’s sentiments do not reflect those of the majority of African-Americans, just the loudest ones.

  5. Le says:

    I liked Marion Barry more when he was in the headlines for smoking crack with a hooker.

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