South Korean pop superstars BTS on March 30 opened up about experiencing racism and condemned the recent spate of violence against Asians that has gripped the US.
In a joint statement posted on Twitter, the septet sent their “deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones” and said that felt “grief and anger”. While they did not mention any particular case, their statement comes soon after the March 16 shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead. Six of the victims were Asian women, four of whom were of Korean descent.
The group — made up of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook — revealed examples of racist treatment they have faced in the past.
“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English,” read the note, posted in English and Korean.
“We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason. Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks. But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem,” they added.
The group said that the rise in hate “cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians” and that they were clear about what their statement wanted to convey.
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected,” they wrote. “We will stand together.”
In the recent past, BTS have been the butt of racist jokes and comments that their fans have rallied against.
Recently, a trading card featuring the group was removed from circulation after social media users said that it promoted anti-Asian hate.
The card was part of the Garbage Pail Kids’ 2021 “Shammy Awards,” an annual collection of satirical cartoons of Grammy nominees such as Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, Taylor Swift and others.
The BTS card depicted the members as whack-a-mole characters, their faces covered in bruises, black eyes and stitches after being clobbered with a Grammy.
The card was released on the same day as the Atlanta shootings, and thousands of Twitter users felt the card was tone-deaf, prompting a swift backlash from the band’s followers.
— With input from agencies