SIMMONS: Messenger Barry mauls his message

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Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The message: “If you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines. And no offense, but let’s grow our own teachers, let’s grow our own nurses … so that we don’t have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places [and] having to hire people from somewhere else.”

The messenger: Former Mayor and current D.C. Council member Marion Barry.

The problem: How the messenger delivers his messages.

The solution: The media.

The facts: The first big wave of nurses from the Philippines occurred in 1948, and thousands of others migrated in the 1960s and 1970s, becoming an integral part of the U.S. health care system.

“For decades the Philippines were the number one source of foreign-trained nurses in the U.S., and the trend has continued into the 21st century,” according to the website minoritynurse.com, which also reported that “a whole new generation of Philippine nurses is coming to America to seek educational and career opportunities unavailable in their homeland.”

Mr. Barry’s bone of contention: the media.

“I’m sick of you all,” he told a reporter.

My bone of contention: Mr. Barry beats up on other ethnic and racial groups in his attempts to lift up blacks — and his target of late has been Asians.

In his attack on Filipinos, Mr. Barry alluded to growing our own nurses and teachers, a very worthy and timely message.

Fortunately, the Barry watchers are keeping pace.

Unfortunately for him, the messenger keeps garbling his messages.

Growing children

On Thursday, Mayor Vincent C. Gray unveiled the Early Success Framework, his ambitious incubator-like plan to raise healthier and smarter children by simultaneously pollinating a cross-section of city agencies with the business and philanthropic communities.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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