Marion Barry’s drugged-up racism

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Marion Barry’s drugged-up racism
By Ray Hanania — Marion Barry has come a long way since his national spotlight debut giving the nominating address to the Democratic National Convention in 1984 on behalf of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.

Barry was elected as the second and then the fourth person to serve as Mayor of Washington DC, and in between was convicted of using crack cocaine and served an unrepentant six months in a federal prison.

Now, the elected councilman from DC’s 8th Ward, Barry is the self-appointed spokesman for a growing new form of American racism directed against hard working ethnics who prefer to lift themselves out of poverty than to take handouts from the government.

This week, Barry, on the crest of a primary re-election victory that was driven by racism, took aim at Americans who happen to be of Asian heritage. And he did so in the same way that bigots in the 1950s once used to attack African Americans. Calling them “dirty” and suggesting they have no rights as Americans.

Rather than apologize for his racism, he attacked his critics calling them “haters.”

What? Is this guy on crack? Again?

Barry’s vicious is an insult to everything that African Americans have fought to overcome. When Blacks moved into White neighborhoods, they were denounced as “filthy” and “dirty,” and told they should go back to their own neighborhoods.

That’s exactly what Barry is saying about Americans of Asian heritage who own retail stores in his district.

Barry represents the most corrupt form of American racism, one that uses stereotypes to claim that some Americans in this country do not have equal rights.

Those Americans have the absolute right to open stores in any city and any neighborhood in America, including in a ward represented by a former drugged up mayor with an ego larger than the smoke that billowed from his crack pipe.

The same racism that Barry directs at Americans of Asian heritage has been directed at Blacks and also at Arabs.

And it is an ugly and false premise that just because you are not of the same color, or race or religion of a community that you have no right to work there and operate a legitimate business.

I bet Barry never complained about the race of the drug dealers who sold him his crack cocaine. But he knows how to get cheap headlines complaining about hardworking Americans who slave at their retail counters in neighborhoods that not even many Black entrepreneurs have chosen to work in.

Instead of lambasting the successful Black businessmen who have turned their backs on struggling Black communities, Barry instead targets the very people who have set racism aside to work Black communities to make them integrated.

I am most shocked at the voters of the 8th Ward who continue to put race-driven selfish pride above civil rights. They continue to stand behind a bigot and hater who has failed to bring any real services or representation to them and uses racism and hatred to deflect the attention of those voters from his failures.

That’s why politicians often use racism. They demonize someone because of their skin color, facial characteristics or accents to distract the public from the real problem. That problem is that the 8th District is represented by an idiot racist.

What is truly shocking is the silence of people like the Rev. Jesse Jackson who claim to be at the vanguard of the fight to overcome racism and racial hate and who have wrapped themselves up in the bloodied memory of the late great civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

King is dead, killed by a bigot who believed that Black people had no right to walk the streets of White communities, or operate businesses in White communities or attend the same schools as whites.

How is Marion Barry any different than King’s killer?

The difference is that Barry is Black and his has cloaked himself in his race to shroud his bigotry and to exploit the real sacrifices that true civil rights heroes made in the fight for racial equality.

I would rather buy food from an Asian American grocery store owner than shake hands with Marion Barry, a former crack cocaine user whose only claim to fame is not the achievement of bringing great programs and ideals to his neighborhood but rather his cheap exploitation of the poverty in his community.

Instead of helping to lift those in need up out of their poverty, he wants them to dance around the bonfires of racism in oder that they might not notice his own failures as a leader.

But Marion Barry’s failures are the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s failures and the failures of every Black American leader who deep down harbors the same kind of vicious racist views against Americans who happen to be of a different race.

(Ray Hanania is a Chicago radio talk show host.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania