WASHINGTON -- Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry made some indelicate remarks about Asians on Tuesday night while celebrating his win in the Democratic primary for the Ward 8 on the D.C. Council.Really, dude? Keep in mind:
According to WRC-TV/NBC4, Barry made the remarks at his victory party, after his primary win, which almost certainly assures him a third four-year council term after the November general election, where Democrats dominate the local electorate.
“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said. “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.” (source)
By late 1989, federal officials had been investigating Barry for six years on suspicion of illegal drug possession and use; that fall, they were able to make cases against several of Barry's associates for past cocaine use, including Charles Lewis – a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands who was implicated in a drug investigation involving Barry and a room at Washington’s Ramada Inn in December 1988 – and a former girlfriend, ex-model Rasheeda Moore.Yet Asian business owners are somehow the problem here.
Barry captured on a surveillance camera smoking crack cocaine during a sting operation by the FBI and D.C. Police. On January 18, 1990, Barry was arrested with Moore in a sting operation at the Vista Hotel by the FBI and D.C. Police for crack cocaine use and possession. The incident was widely broadcast on television, showing an enraged Barry excoriating Moore, who had become an FBI informant. The outburst, in which Barry muttered, in part, "Bitch set me up," became a popular quote associated with Barry.
Barry was charged with three felony counts of perjury, 10 counts of misdemeanor drug possession, and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to possess cocaine. The criminal trial ended in August 1990 with a conviction for only one possession incident, which had occurred in November 1989, and an acquittal on another. The jury hung on the remaining charges. Six or seven jurors (of whom two were white and the rest black) believed that the evidence against Barry was overwhelming and that he had displayed "arrogance" during the trial. Against these, five black jurors were convinced that the prosecution had falsified evidence and testimony as part of a racist conspiracy against Barry, and even disputed factual findings that had not been contested in court. After scolding the jurors for not following his instructions, the judge declared a mistrial on the remaining charges.
As a result of his arrest and the ensuing trial, Barry decided In June 1990 not to seek re-election as mayor. Barry was sentenced to a six-month federal prison term in October 1990. After his arrest and through his trial, Barry continued as mayor. He even ran as an independent for an at-large seat on the council against 13-year incumbent Hilda Mason. Mason, a former ally who had helped Barry recuperate after the 1977 shooting, took the challenge personally, saying, "I do feel very disappointed in my grandson Marion Barry." Mason was endorsed by a majority of the council members and by Jesse Jackson, who was running for shadow senator.
Barry was sentenced to six months in federal prison shortly before the November election, which he lost – in the first (and to date only) electoral loss of his career – despite doing well among the voters of Ward 8. His wife and son moved out of the house later that month. In October 1991, Barry surrendered himself at a correctional facility in Petersburg, Virginia. While serving his time, Barry was accused of letting a woman perform oral sex on him in a prison waiting room, a charge Barry denied. Barry was transferred to another federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Barry was released in April 1992. (source)
Um, no. Here's who needs to go: corrupt officials who openly abuse their power and keep winding up back in office - hell no. As soon as he was convicted, Barry's political career should've been over. Not on hold, not up for renewal, just straight up canceled once and for all.
By all means, I want more Black people in America to open up and run their own businesses; I love nothing more than going to a beauty shop run by Black women talking about the latest trends and swapping tips. We have a lot to offer not just one another but other people as well. But talking shit about Asian business owners who are making their money is right in line with all those white families who get ticked at Asian kids who study hard and do well in school, while their own kids are binge drinking, skipping class, and sleeping around.
Real talk...in the building where I work now, there's a polished, well-organized deli run by a Black family who just make me so proud. They set up shop here in January with an excellent menu, and they come in every day dressed to the nines. They're not bitching about Asians. They're making their money. There's always a long ass line of coworkers down there waiting to their grub on, and no one ever complains about the food or the service because both are always exceptional.
When I lived in friggin' West Virginia, a state that's 96% white, one Black woman decided to open up a beauty supply in the college town of Huntington and named it in honor of her late mother. She set up shop on 4th Avenue downtown, in the busiest area. She invited all the braiders to leave their business cards at her store and was willing to set up appointments for them with her walk-ins. Her prices were more than reasonable, her location was PERFECT, and while she was making money, every Black braider in a 20-mile radius was also making money. The recession eventually hit, of course, but when she had to downgrade, she wasn't bitching about Asians. She had a few choice things to say about Dubya, though, and had more than sufficient knowledge about the economy to back up her statements. In the meantime, she ran her business from home, networking online and even delivering beauty supplies to her customers' homes. Even as we speak, she's still making her money.
Moral of my stories? Don't hate the player. Learn to master the game.