Why is Marion Barry still in office?

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.

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.”
Really, dude?  Keep in mind:
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.

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.[32] 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.[33]

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.[34][35] 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.[36] Barry was sentenced to a six-month federal prison term in October 1990.[37] 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.[38] 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."[39] Mason was endorsed by a majority of the council members[40] and by Jesse Jackson, who was running for shadow senator.[41]

Barry was sentenced to six months in federal prison shortly before the November election,[42] which he lost – in the first (and to date only) electoral loss of his career – despite doing well among the voters of Ward 8.[43] His wife and son moved out of the house later that month.[44] 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,[45] a charge Barry denied.[46] Barry was transferred to another federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania.[46] Barry was released in April 1992.[47]  
Yet Asian business owners are somehow the problem here.

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.


  1. Don't hate the player. Learn to master the game.

    *stands her ass up and claps* This be the truth!!!!!!!

  2. I agree with what you say. I live in the whitest town in Florida and you don't know how often I hear people complain about mexicans and other "Useless foreigners" stealing jobs and businesses. I believe we aren't stealing anything, We are just doing the job they weren't able do and doing it better! I especially don't like how they make fun of us but the majority of the students that are excelling are POC. I go to the library and there is always a bunch of us studying. When we look at them most of their kids are out partying or getting high or having sex. Are these people expected to be the future of our businesses and medical staff? Or the people who are studying their butts off?

  3. I have been thinking about this.. Barry says the problem is Asian but I believe the real problem is parenting and education. Foreigners (I'm Haitian) have been given a rule, a goal, a dream. That is to become successful. That's the reason why we came here! Hence the "American Dream". Growing up my parents always said "YOU LIVE IN AMERICA! YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME ANYTHING AND ANYONE!" and also "You have to become either a doctor, lawyer or nurse!" But the second part is mainly my family ;). However many people haven't really been raised like that. Especially since media has been putting down morality, family, and education. Some people just want to live "easy lives". Easy life can't score you a career. Careers can be anything but easy. This loss of goals, ambitions, and dreams is the problem. That is why some people can't find jobs because people who have dreams and goals take them. If Barry really want to do something, eradicating Asian people isn't the way to go. He should focus on family building and education. What ever happened to the good old days of NDEA? (national defense education act). It brought out many amazing discoveries. It tested people! Made them want to try harder and better! Now we have turned into a country that lack ambition and dreams.

    1. Exactly. Americans want it all, want it now, and don't want to work for it.

      When I was in college, my schoolmates were surprised at my consistency with class attendance, and my willingness to work multiple jobs. It made me wonder why the hell they were in school. It was obvious, of course; they were there to get that loan check. Some "free" money to finance their shopping and partying while they balked at going to class or holding down a job.

    2. Tell me about it! Right now I am a part time honors high school student, part time technical student for practical nursing, AND a part time college student! And some of my classmates call me crazy for it. My town is so small so we don't have stuff to do so most of the other kids just party, get drunk, have sex, and get high. They make fun of me for not doing it too. They call me "lame" "oreo". Etc. Its so bad here that they had to build a daycare center for THE MIDDLE SCHOOL! little 6th graders getting pregnant and one girl I talked to was mad because her 12 year old boyfriend isn't going to support her. He is twelve.. Come on! If these kids were focused on school and hoping to get a Career little Barry wouldn't have to complain about Asians taking advantage of what other people don't take advantage of.

    3. Kesia,

      Keep your head up very high. Don't listen to your critics. Anybody who thinks that having a college education and/or great job is an " oreo" don't think much of their community and don't think much of about themselves.

      I've friends who thought the same about me and I've seen the end results of them..and it's not too pretty. Some of them have AIDS, prison, their graves, VD and some have become grandparents before their 30th B-day.

      It's been over 20 years ago that I graduated from HS. When I look back at it, I ask myself, why did some of my peers vie for some the things that you've discussed on your post? It was " "popular" to be the school ho, to get drunk, and to make bad marks in class. Those things don't feel as bad in high school because it would have been the " right" thing to do. Now I look back and thank god that I didn't succuumb to that nonsense. I don't have any kids,but if I did, one thing that I'm happy to know is that he/she wouldn't have to worry about them finding out deeply bad things about me. Never did drugs, alcohol,and although I liked guys. I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was in my early 20's. The worst thing I've done was to make bad a grade a couple of times,but it was made up..besides nobody will brand you as a bad person because that mistake,but being labeled a ho is an unfortunate label that that can hurt you for dear life.

      Just keep making your parents proud. 10 years from now, I will guarantee that those same people are going to wish they had done what you're doing. The kind of lifestyles isn't going to get them now where.

  4. I actually agree with what is said. Black Americans are Americans and I find a lot of us want to have everything with little work or direction. This statement pains me because I am a black American and I see this all the time in our community. I think after many years of discrimination, gross characterizations, and being told that we were better off as manual labor, blacks have given up. There was a sweet spot during the 1970's when the black is beautiful movement was thriving and we were still a community. But now that is gone. Now all that's left is despair and anger at the situation the community is in. There are middle class blacks but all of them have abdicated out of the inner cities.

    I hate so called black leaders like Marion Berry who take advantage of the frustrations that many have and blame it on another group of people. How in the world did this man get reelected to any political seat. He was such a failure as mayor of DC. Instead of blaming a group of people why don't you encourage education about entrepreneurship and finances. This reminds me of what I heard someone said long ago, just because someone looks like you does not mean they have your best interest at heart.


    1. Someone who agrees about the education! Thank you! Promote entrepreneurship and finances! This would help so many people.

  5. Marion Barry = Tool and tools in politics are useful (for the corrupt). But if any wanted to get him taken OUT of office then I would have no problem with that.

    1. Ugh! Marion Barry is a crooked scumbag and I LOATHE that he is not under the jail- what I hate even worse is how normal black people like myself are all painted with the same brush. Lots of people love to point out corrupt Republicans but get oddly quiet when Democrat dirt is brought to light.

      I am Black American, pursuing TWO advanced degrees, at once, at an IVY league university. I really don't want to hear how lazy/stupid/high/drunk/loose etc Black American students are- nope, don't want to hear it!

      The problem is that, out of a misplaced sense of democracy, we let even the most ignorant and indolent among us proclaim themselves to be The Authentic Voice of Black Americans. Well, I see many other Black American girls at my school who are brilliant, polished, focused and just all around awesome every.single.day. and I wish the rest of the world saw us as The Authentic Voice of Black America. Other groups have enough sense to "other" the trifling members of their collectives, but that idea hasn't caught on with us just yet...

    2. I wrote a paper on stereotyping. How people stereotype out of laziness. Carelessly throwing people into categories such as naggy wife, old bum, arrogant blacks, etc. When people look at the bad examples they say "Oh they are all like that" but when they finally see someone who isn't they claim that "That person is just an exception" I have been stereotyped against too hence the nickname Oreo. Many people say you don't act like a typical black woman. But my question is What is a typical black woman?

      The world needs to see everyone as individuals and not stereotypes because believing in stereotypes can have a negative affect on the person. I can say this as a health care professional. (Certified in the State of Florida).

      Also if we look back at our country's history blacks didn't start voting democrat until the great depression around the 1932 election after President Hoover. Before then the majority of us were Republican.

  6. Sorry to get distracted but...

    Rain (Bi) looks GOOD in a suit. So mature and his voice has gotten so deep.


    Marion Barry is just not a good way to end the day...

  7. Marion Barry is an embarrassment. This divide and conquer strategy is born of an oppressive, white supremacist society and has been internalized to the point that we as minorities fight to keep each other down.

    Disclaimer aside, this may not go over well, but I do think in particular fields it's less of "don't hate the player, hate the game" and more of the "game" is completely rigged to disenfranchise Black people. I'm particularly thinking of Black Beauty supply business.

    I'm not as radical as some, I have no issue with Korean owned beauty supplies. The store I grew up going to was Korean owned and to this day the owner is the only person other than my dad that I will let clip my ends.

    However, the wat supply owners maintain their control of the industry feels almost like a monopoly. I had a family member attempt to open a beauty supply but it lasted less than two years. The trade publications and whole sales catalogs are generally completely in Korean and most weave suppliers will not sell to non-Korean stores because of threats of boycotts by the Korean Beauty Supply Association. Since most products can be found a lot of places outside the BSB then main draw is weaves and wigs and most Black store owners are not able to get access to a wide selection of them.

    It's a complicated issue for me, as I said, I love my BSB owner and have never had any issues, however I do the way the industry is set up is unfair.

    1. Which is precisely why the natural movement presents a huge economic opportunity for Black people.

    2. Yes but the actions from Korean Beauty Supply Associantion are plain wrong. Sure it's a game, but it's dirty as hell. There are many reasons to go natural but this feels like a weak one. This kind of economic tactics to make your nationalty supreme within area is a little too dirty for me especially when 99% of the clientel is black. I don't hate the Koreans for doing it though. Just think Black folks should learn to play the game. Which would be to boycott the stores that are associated with Korean Beauty Supply Association. After all they can't function without the black dollar.

  8. @ Coco: I read some articles about this and I agree with you. Not only Koreans but Chinese people are in this business too.
    I don't have a solution about it but maybe buying more often products made by black people (brands) would help...instead of doing the same thing as Asian people or working with them, why not doing our own thing, starting from the products? There's hope, I've read some blogs from black women making their own hand made products and some of them are selling them. Why not setting up shops with mainly black brand's products and combine this with something interesting, I don't know, I'm not creative lol but I'm sure some business oriented women would know what to do. Doesn't mean it's easy but nothing that is good in the long term is easy in this world.

    As for the article here, yeah, true. Having more black businessmen/women would be awesome, sure, entrepeneurship should be more encourgaed, concretely. I also think that just encouraging kids and teens to take their lives more seriously and think about their future is enough.

  9. Here's a link to black owned Biz Network --> http://www.blackownedbiz.com/

    There are a lot of these companies on Twitter and Facebook. There's also Black Business List -> http://www.blackbusinesslist.com/

    There was also the story of the Anderson family out of Chicago. Chicago has the highest number of black establishments of any US city-->


    I'm from Harlem so I see Black owned businesses all the time, even if there small (In Brooklyn as well) I've been accused of 'reverse racism' by non-blacks for wanting to support my own (My daughter doesn't play with white dolls, and neither did I when I was small. My family didn't play that.) I just ignore their asses and keep it moving.

    Here's one of the many black owned business clips on youtube. Links to these companies are in the description box--> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCCv7fQ6ClA

    I guess it depend on where you live. Even if you don't live near any black folk there are plenty of online businesses you can support.

  10. I definitely agree that natural hair has opened a world of opportunity for business minded black women. I mean Carol's Daughter and Qhemet both started as kitchen shops. But where we are as a community right now with our hair, it isn't enough. I mean black women yearly weave sales is in the billions. I guess the way I feel about it is analogous to my feelings on Native American archaeological finds: think of how much improvement could be made within our communities if we had access to our own resources.

    I'm not throwing shade, I don't mind if others get a piece of that pie too. I would love to see South Asian women have more capital within the weave business since it is primarily their hair that is used. I just think that the enforced blackout (pun totally intended) is unfair.

    Thanks for the list Nicole, very helpful. As i made the switch to more healthy products for my natural hair, I don't really make into a BSS often anymore. Also an aside. My parents took a video of me on Santa's lap when I was three and I asked for a black barbie and he said "A barbie?" and I loudly corrected him and said " a BLACK barbie" and you can totally hear the white ladies in line tittering.

    1. Geez! Weave sales are in the billions???!!! My god. I didn't know we were spending that kind of money on weaves! I've been natural for four years. I buy a lot of my satin sleeping bonnets from black owned BSS as well as my combs and things like that. Even if its just a pack of conditioning caps, I buy something.

      I would have loved to see that video of you on santa's lap! lol

    2. "I mean black women yearly weave sales is in the billions."

      I'm certain Jamaican women alone hold a hefty percentage of those buyers. Weaves are everywhere! XD

    3. Indeed, if the weave business must continue, I'd like to see it firmly in the hands of women, first of all, because I think this is one of those industries where women are being exploited.

      Secondly, the blackout (totally apropos, by the way) is bullshit. I'm getting tired of folks chasing Black dollars as though paying for shit is all we're good for. Um, no.

      But to get back to the original issue here, Marion Barry needs to be removed from office ASAP. I'd sign a change.org petition prontito to get that ball rollin'. Dude has no business being in office - I didn't even know he was still relevant like that. I thought I was hallucinating when I first saw his name in the news.

  11. Myra- (not logged in now...)

    Thanks for the links, I think I saw a list on facebook last year. I don't buy "products" anymore though, I've been having natural hair for a few years now too and I pretty much just use organic oils and shampoos/leave-in conditioners. I don't live in an area where there're many black owned stores/shops so I buy my stuff online, from fair trade companies, my shea butter is made in West Africa for example.

    As for the links, I hope that some of these companies sell outside of the US, I tried once and I was disappointed. I also will see if they sell natural or organic products.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Name, please, or I'll have to delete.

    2. Signed it, by the way. Dude has no business being in office:

      Asked if he had any message for the shop owners he was addressing in his Tuesday victory speech, he said, "Get busy. Hire some D.C. residents, Ward 8 residents. Clean your stores up, those who didn't clean up. Be a part of the community. Don't take all their money to Virginia or Maryland. Leave some right here in this community. We want it. We will demand it."

      Barry capped the interview by pontificating on why he is constantly the subject of controversy and media scrutiny.

      "Well, because I'm doing such a great job. I'm doing a fantastic job. My political enemies, the haters and the other kind of people have got to to find something to do. They attack Marion Barry. That's all. They ought to do something else."

      ...When The Post asked why he targeted Asians in his remarks, Barry responded, “Because that’s reality. Who owns these little restaurants? Who owns them? You know, Asians. ... Ninety percent of all the small restaurants in Ward 8, at least.”

      Noting that the latter statement couldn't be verified, the newspaper further quoted Barry as saying, “We’re spending our money there, and we demand respect. We demand they participate in community affairs. We demand they give jobs to Ward 8 people regardless of their cultural situation. That’s as American as apple pie.”

      Barry is no stranger to controversy. In fact, he's a lightning rod for it.

      Dogged by allegations of cocaine and alcohol abuse during his first three mayoral terms from 1979 to 1991, Barry was arrested in 1990 after a famously televised police surveillance tape showed him smoking crack in a hotel room. He was sentenced to six months in prison after a possession conviction.

      More recently, he has had run-ins with the IRS over his failure to file tax returns and pay taxes. In 2006, he was suspected of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license in separate incidents. He was found not guilty of the DUI charge, and the state said a computer glitch erroneously reported that Barry's license had been suspended.

      In 2002, police said they found "apparent" traces of marijuana and cocaine in Barry's car but didn't arrest him, and in 2009, he was arrested for stalking, a charge prosecutors later dropped.

      He reclaimed his seat in the mayor's office in 1995 and was re-elected to the City Council in 2004.


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