Marion Barry slurs one ethnic group while apologizing for slurring another

David Martosko | Executive Editor

Maybe it was the crack. Or perhaps it was the political whiplash of returning to power in Washington, D.C. after serving a prison term. But whatever the reason, former Washington mayor and current Ward 8 city councilman Marion Barry can’t seem to get his apologies straight.

While trying to offer his regrets Thursday for derogatory comments last month about Asian-Americans, Barry managed to offend Polish-Americans.

“We gotta do something about these Asians coming in, opening up these dirty shops,” he said on April 3. “They got to go. I’ll say that right now.”

Fast-forward to Thursday. Barry apologized for adding racial tensions in the nation’s capital, noting that there’s nothing new about race-based divides in America.

“The Irish caught hell, the Jews caught hell, the Polacks caught hell,” Barry said, according to WTOP radio. “We want Ward 8 to be the model of diversity.”

Less than 24 hours later, Barry was apologizing again — this time for using the slur “Polacks” to refer to Americans of Polish descent.

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“We gotta do something about these Asians coming in, opening up these dirty shops,” he said on April 3. “They got to go. I’ll say that right now.”

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