BTS have spoken out against anti-Asian racism as violent attacks on Asian communities continue to rise.
Posting on Twitter earlier today (March 30) in both Korean and English, the group said they felt “grief and anger” at the violence being levelled at Asian people. “We send our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones,” they said.
In recent weeks, multiple Asian people were killed in mass shootings in Atlanta, while earlier this week a 65-year-old woman was attacked in New York when she was on her way to church.
BTS touched upon some of their own experiences of discrimination they have faced over the years in the statement. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look,” the band wrote. “We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”
They 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 Korean group added that the violent attacks and abuse that are occurring now “cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians”. “It required considerable time for use to discuss this carefully and we contemplated deeply on how we should voice our message,” they said. “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.”
Although anti-Asian racism was rife before last year, the coronavirus pandemic and rhetoric around it and its origins have exacerbated the issue dramatically. The group Stop AAPI Hate said in their national report that they received 3,795 reports of hate incidents against AAPI people in the US between March 19, 2021 and February 28, 2021, including verbal harassment, shunning, physical assault, civil rights violations and online harassment.
While most of the incidents that have been reported widely in the media took place in America, the problem is not one that is relegated to the States alone. The UK has seen a 300 percent increase in hate crimes against Asian people since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the organisation End The Virus Of Racism.
In France, five men went on trial earlier this month for alleged online incitement of violence against Asian people. A crowd of people gathered outside the courthouse to protest anti-Asian racism and share their experiences of discrimination and abuse. Reports of a rise in hate crimes against Asian communities have also been reported in Germany, Italy and across Europe. For resources and information on how to help communities in need, visit here.