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Eddie Huang, the outspoken D.C.-born, New York-based chef who recently dished out his popular bao buns during a pop-up event at Toki Underground, fired-off a blog rant today in response to Councilmember Marion Barry‘s controversial comments about the Asian-American operators of Ward 8 carryouts.
For starters, Huang seeks to explain the mere existence of “dirty Asian businesses” (Barry’s words) in Ward 8:
“Because Asians love Too Short and we GET IN WHERE WE FIT IN FOOL….Most people don’t want to serve this neighborhood, but Asians are willing. Yet despite owning many of the businesses in the neighborhood, Asians have not integrated. We only represent .5% of the population in the 8th so in many ways, we’re carpetbaggers there.”
Huang also tries to find some common ground with the so-called “Mayor For Life”:
“If the tables were turned and we were being served by Black businesses who didn’t live with us, break bread with us, and just dumped their combo no5 on us, I would be pissed too. We don’t even eat this shit at home yall! I also liked that Barry pointed out the “plexi glass”. It’s interesting. The Plexi Glass isn’t necessarily “dirty”, it’s symbolic. What bothers Barry isn’t Asian businesses being “dirty” or even “Asian”… It’s that a lot of Asian shop owners don’t respect Black customers. The blame goes both ways. Neither side really tries to reach out and get to know the other, but I will say this. As the retailer SERVING the customer, I think this one is on Asians.”
Finally, the vociferous chef calls for a little unity and suggests that Barry’s comments could serve as some constructive criticism:
“This is not a race thing. It starts with ameliorating a race thing (i.e. Asians-Blacks not getting along), but the real issue is that we are reduced to fighting over scraps in the 8th Ward. Asians need to understand that the 8th Ward isn’t an impersonal port for us to fling our goods on. Yes, our prices our cheap and our service is fast, but we need to change the business model. It’s a good thing we’re getting called out. Let’s take it and come back better, faster, stronger.”