Barry Profits from Race Baiting

By Jaffe, Harry | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, April 6, 2012 | Go to article overview

Barry Profits from Race Baiting


Jaffe, Harry, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Let me take you back to that day in 1986 when the Rev. Willie Wilson of the Union Temple Baptist Church led a protest against an Asian market owner who had supposedly disrespected an African- American customer. The alleged affront involved the owner of a grocery in Ward 8 refusing to serve a customer whom he suspected of stealing.

Wilson then and now an important religious leader urged a boycott of the store. He said that if he and his people had not forgiven the shopkeeper, we would have cut his head off and rolled it down the street.

Sweet guy, that Reverend Wilson. His blood-soaked outburst was met with a scolding from the establishment press and a few politicians, but Wilsons stature in his community rose. None of that Golden Rule palaver for this preacher. He knew how to preach to his followers.

Remembering Willie Wilsons threats to an Asian grocer puts Marion Barrys comments Tuesday night into some perspective. To refresh: Barry made an offhand remark to revelers gathered to celebrate his victory at the polls, which will keep him in office as Ward 8 council member four more years. He said: Weve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty little shops. They ought to go. Ill just say that right now, you know.

His comments were caught on camera and recorded for posterity. There was a second quote, but well deal with that a bit later.

When Barrys crude comments hit the airwaves, there was much tsktsking. Barrys council colleague Tommy Wells, who represents Capital Hill, called them deplorable. Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame Brown registered disapproval.

Heres the truth: Marion Barry, like Willie Wilson before him, was showing solidarity with his constituents. …

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