BTS Shared Incidents of Anti-Asian Racism That Made Them ‘Feel Powerless’

Madison Feller
·3 min read
Photo credit: Emma McIntyre - Getty Images
Photo credit: Emma McIntyre - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Throughout the past year of the coronavirus pandemic, Asians and Asian Americans in the United States have experienced an onslaught of anti-Asian hate and harassment. Now, after a series of violent incidents over the past several months, celebrities and activists are speaking up and denouncing the blatant racism and attacks across the nation.

On Monday night, the South Korean boy band BTS released their own statement condemning the rise in anti-Asian hate, posting with the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate. On Twitter, Jimin, Jungkook, V, J-Hope, Jin, RM, and Suga wrote that they took “considerable time” and “contemplated deeply” how to use their platform, and the resulting statement is deeply personal and intimate.

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In the statement, the men of BTS recounted incidents where they faced discrimination and racism for being Asian. They wrote, “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”

The statement continued: “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.”

The band did not mention any specific incidents, though the group wrote that they send their “deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones.” This seems to be a reference to the recent shootings in Atlanta, where a gunman killed eight people at three different spas. Six of those eight people were Asian women.

Read BTS’s full statement in English below:

We send our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. We feel grief and anger.

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.

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.

What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians. It required considerable time for us to discuss this carefully and we contemplated deeply on how we should voice our message.

But what our voice must convey is clear.

We stand against racial discrimination.

We condemn violence.

You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.

As of now, the group has not announced any large donations, though one might still be coming. In June 2020, BTS and their label, Big Hit Entertainment, donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter, and at the time, BTS tweeted their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Similar to their Monday statement, they wrote, “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”

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