Ellise ShaferTue, 30 March 2021, 4:45 am
South Korean pop group BTS has posted a letter expressing its support for the Stop Asian Hate movement that has arisen as a result of increased frequency in instances of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“We send our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones,” reads the statement, which was published both in Korean and English. “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.”
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On March 16, eight people were killed in a series of shootings at three Atlanta spas or massage parlors, six of whom were Asian women. Anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise since 2020, increasing by nearly 150% in that year alone, according to a report released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
In response, BTS members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook — united in a singular voice — went on to explain how their own experiences with racism have caused them to feel “powerless” and “chip away” at their self-esteem.
“We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason,” the letter continues. “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.”
BTS explained that it took them “considerable time” to decide how exactly to communicate this very important message, but ended the note with a statement of unity: “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.”