WASHINGTON—The Philippines is condemning Washington, D.C., Councilmember Marion Barry for remarks critical of local hospitals for hiring Filipino nurses instead of District of Columbia residents.
Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia issued a statement Wednesday calling Barry’s comments “intolerant and narrow-minded.”
Barry said at a council hearing on the District of Columbia’s budget on Monday that many hospitals hire “immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines.”
“[N]o offense,” Barry said, “but let’s grow our own teachers, 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.”
Barry said nursing schools in the district should train local residents to work in the health industry and deal with nursing shortages.
Cuisia said Barry’s “penchant for blaming Asians … fuels racism, discrimination and violence.”
No Washington officials have criticized Barry for the comment about nurses. The district has preferential hiring practices for local residents.
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) and the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) based in Washington, D.C., denounced Barry’s remarks as racist and bigoted.
“We reject this continued Asian bashing by elected officials like Mr. Barry and demand that he apologize for his insensitive and irresponsible remarks,” Naffaa chair Ed Navarra said in a statement.
“We also call on him to engage in a meaningful dialogue with our community so we can better educate the broader American public about the significant contributions that our diverse immigrant communities have made to this country.”
MHC Co-Executive Director Arnedo Valera said Barry’s statements were “unbecoming of a public official.” With a report from AP
Originally posted at 09:34 pm | Thursday, April 26, 2012