UPON HEARING the latest bigoted comments from D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), the first impulse is to ignore them. The former mayor, by word and deed, long ago ceased to command respect, so why pretend that what he says really matters? Such thinking, though, gives a pass to Mr. Barry’s toxic prejudices and to those who have enabled him by years of looking away and making excuses.
Filipino nurses were the objects of Mr. Barry’s most recent spewing. At a hearing Monday on the University of the District of Columbia’s budget, Mr. Barry said: “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 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.” The comments came just weeks after he was forced to apologize (sort of) for insults about Asian Americans. “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops,” he said at a party celebrating his victory in the Ward 8 Democratic primary.