Marion Barry implies colleagues oppose his bill because they're white
Marion Barry is in hot water again for race-based comments. He delivered a tirade against his white colleagues on the D.C. Council at their final legislative meeting Tuesday.
Barry's anger started when he tried to pass a bill that would extend employment discrimination protections to ex-offenders. The Council approved a similar bill put forward by Chairman Phil Mendelson.
“This bill is dividing the black community and the white community. We don’t need that in our city,” says Barry.
With a vote of 11 to 2, the Council passed Chairman Mendelson’s bill which, unlike Barry’s bill, does not give ex-offenders the same legal rights as other minority groups, but it does create a “certificate of good standing” program for job-seekers with criminal records.
“We all want to improve the ability of people to reenter society,” says Phil Mendelson, (D) D.C. Council.
Barry would not relent, vowing to “go on a warpath against anyone who opposes this bill.”
“Well, some people say Marion Barry is responsible for racial division. That’s [expletive], that’s [expletive]. There’s racial division all over America and Marion Barry is not all over America,” he says.
David Catania aggressively pushed back.
“The notion that we disagree with someone our entire public service is cast into question or we are somehow labeled as insensitive because we disagree is really as I said a part of vanity and the stock and trade of a long bankrupt servant who has long, long ago failed to offer constructive solutions for the problems that afflict this city and I have had it,” says Catania, (I) D.C. Council.
“We as a body have to become more respectful of each other,” says Vincent Orange, (D) D.C. Council.
As Orange called for the Council to come together, more sharp words were exchanged between Catania and Barry.
Sitting in the front row was D.C. Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Lang, who supports Mendelson’s bill and opposes Barry’s, calling his comments “unfortunate.”
“Nothing could be farther from the truth and I am sorry as an African American woman. A couple weeks ago he accused me of being a traitor to our race and that doesn’t help us at all in this environment trying to move forward,” says Lang.