Anti-Asian racism
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Members of South Korean K-pop group BTS released a statement condemning racism against Asians. “‘We stand against racial discrimination,” the biggest boy band in the world, tweeted to their 34 million followers in English and Korean. Photo:Lee Jin-wook/Yonhap/AP

BTS take stand against anti-Asian racism, and say they’ve been victims of it themselves

  • Superstar K-pop boy band post tweet in English and Korean saying they have felt anti-Asian racism and referring to ‘events … over the past few weeks’
  • ‘What’s happening right now cannot be disassociated from our identity as Asians,’ they say. The statement follows the killing of six Asian-Americans in Atlanta

K-pop superstar group BTS have condemned racism against Asians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in a statement in which they say they’ve experienced it themselves.

“We stand against racial discrimination,” BTS tweeted on Tuesday in English and Korean. The band said their own painful encounters with racism included “expletives” and being “mocked for the way” they look.

BTS issued their statement following recent attacks against people of Asian heritage in the United States, which have risen during the coronavirus pandemic. A white gunman recently killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, at massage businesses in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence,” the band said in the statement, adding that their experiences made them feel powerless and chipped away at their self-esteem. In February, a German radio station drew ire when a host compared the band to the coronavirus.

BTS arrive for the recent Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. They released a statement condemning racial discrimination and said they had been on the receiving end of it. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The band said that although the discrimination they endured is “inconsequential” compared to “events that have occurred over the past few weeks”, they felt the need to speak out. “What’s happening right now cannot be disassociated from our identity as Asians,” the band said.

Many Asian-Americans believe the Atlanta shootings were racially motivated. Police say they are still trying to determine a motive.

Atlanta shooting of Asian women was racially motivated, US senator says

High-profile stars of Asian descent such as Steven Yeun, Simon Liu and Sandra Oh have been vocal about spreading awareness of anti-Asian violence.

“I am proud to be Asian! We belong here,” Oh shouted into a megaphone at a Stop Asian Hate rally in the US city of Pittsburgh last week.

BTS are one of the first South Korean bands to openly condemn anti-Asian racism. K-pop bands are known to be careful about maintaining personas created by their labels, which often muzzle stars on touchy subjects like race and mental health.

BTS condemn anti-Asian racism in a tweet.
BTS have addressed racial discrimination and violence before. In 2020, the band donated US$1 million to the Black Lives Matter movement, which was quickly matched by their fans within a day, according to “One In An ARMY,” a global fundraising team made up of BTS fans.