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Marion Barry Yet to Apologize for Remarks About Filipino Nurses

Posted: May 02, 2012

 Washington, DC Councilmember Marion Barry seems to be on a roll these days offending Asians and Asian Americans. The former mayor of the district just referred to Asian-owned businesses as “dirty” one month ago. Now he's added more fuel to the fire by targeting nurses from the Philippines.

“In fact, it is so bad, that if you go to the hospital now, you'll find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines, and no offense, but let's grow our own teachers, let’s grow our own nurses, and so that we don’t have to go scrounging in our community clinics and other kinds of places, having to hire people from somewhere else,” Barry said at a budget hearing with the board of the University of District of Columbia last week.

Although Barry clarified his statement that UDC should be the premier nursing program that trains local residents to fill the nursing shortage, his explanation didn’t appease activists.

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations called Barry’s remarks “racist” and “bigoted,” according to The Washington Post. The organization also joined several national and local Asian American advocacy groups to launch a “Say Sorry Barry” campaign. In an online petition campaign, the group urged the former civil rights veteran to “issue a formal apology for his latest insensitive comments towards Asian Pacific American and immigrant communities.”

Barry also struck an international nerve when Ambassador Jose Cuisia of the Philippines called the councilman’s comments “deplorable.” Read more here.

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