Marion Barry's remarks on Filipino nurses draw criticism
D.C. Councilman Marion Barry is once again embroiled in controversy, this time for remarks criticizing local hospitals for hiring Filipino nurses instead of D.C. residents.
This comes just one month after the former D.C. mayor came under fire over racist comments he made about Asian businesses.
At a budget hearing, Barry told officials at the University of the District of Columbia that the school should hire more D.C. residents as teachers and nurses.
It's the way he phrased that suggestion, though, that has people fired up again.
"In fact, it's so bad, that if you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines," he said.
Barry went on to say, “And no offense, but let's grow our own teachers, let's grow our own nurses -- and so that we don't have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places -- having to hire people from somewhere else."
The councilmember attempted to clarify his comments later on Tuesday, saying that he wants UDC to become the premier supplier of medical personnel and nurses to hospitals in the District, so that local nurses can get jobs in local hospitals.
"The nation has a national shortage of nurses to the point it has hire foreigners or immigrants to do these jobs," Barry said. "I want UDC to become the premiere nursing school, where they graduate...400 nurses a year that can be used by D.C. residents."
In response to critics saying that his comments were racist, Barry said that that was "their problem, not my problem."
More stinging comments from Barry
These remarks come just weeks after another controversy involving the councilmember’s words.
He told supporters that something needs to be about Asian business owners coming into Ward 8 and opening up “dirty shops.”
D.C. mayor Vincent Gray and several D.C. Council members condemned Barry’s statements.
Barry later apologized for his comments, but there was no one at his office on Tuesday to provide additional ones. For many District residents, Barry's comments are old hat.
"That's what it is to me - Marion Barry being Marion Barry without thinking first," D.C. resident Shirley Smith said.
However, Barry still has his supporters, as he did after his comments a few weeks ago.
"I really think that people are making a big deal out of nothing because it is Marion Barry," Ward 8 native Wes Bunter said.
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