Specifically, nurses from the Philippines. Yeah, he went there. This week, at a D.C. Council budget hearing, the former mayor/crack cocaine user argued that the city's schools and hospitals should hire locally -- and singled out the growing number of Filipino nurses -- "foreigners or immigrants" -- in the workforce:
"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.There's nothing wrong with trying to improve training programs and creating incentives to hire locally... but it's clear that Mr. Barry, an elected official, has issues with immigrant communities, and is scapegoating them to make a point. And this certainly isn't the first time. This comes just weeks after his comments about "these Asians coming in and opening up business and dirty shops."
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 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."
At the very least, Marion Barry needs to do a little more thinking before speaks. But then again, I suppose that's what makes him Marion Barry. More here: Marion Barry's remarks on Filipino nurses draw criticism.
UPDATE: A group of concerned citizens have organized an online petition urging Marion Barry to apologize for his remarks: Say Sorry Barry. Here's their collective statement: DC Asian American Advocacy Groups Urge Apology from Councilmember Marion Barry for Insensitive Remarks About Filipino Nurses.