While celebrating his Democratic primary victory in Ward 8 Tuesday night, D.C. Councilman Marion Barry delivered a remark apparently critical of Asian business owners….
“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.”
For Barry’s reactions, see these collected Twitter messages.
This reminds me of another comment from another political figure — not by any means identical, but reminiscent in its focus on how Asians are somehow elbowing out people of the speaker’s own race. From Leon Rennert [Bee Washington Bureau Chief], Sacramento Bee, Apr. 7, 1995, at A1 (quoting an exclusive interview with The Bee):
“Our diversity is our great strength,” [President Clinton] declared. “If a university says, ‘Look, we’re only going to let in qualified people, but we think that the life of the university will be strengthened if we had different kinds of people,’ then I think that’s a legitimate thing.”
Otherwise, he added, “there are universities in California that could fill their entire freshman classes with nothing but Asian Americans.”
Likewise, see this comment from CNN Crossfire host Bob Beckel, questioning Abigail Thernstrom, during the California Prop. 209 debate:
If merit — this things, merit, which is most grades and tests are what is used here, would you like to see these UCLA Law School 80 percent Asian? Because at the rate it is going, let me just give you the percentages. The rate it’s going, an increase of 80 students by the year 2007, 80 percent of the UCLA Law School will be Asian. Will that make you happy?