BTS Shares Experiences of Racism as They Denounce Anti-Asian Attacks: 'We Feel Grief and Anger'
"What is happening right now cannot be disassociated from our identity as Asian," BTS said in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday
BTS is speaking out against the rise in violence against Asian Americans across the U.S. while also sharing their own experiences with racism that they have faced over the years.
In a statement posted to Twitter Monday in both Korean and English, the Grammy-nominated supergroup offered their "deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones," likely a reference to the deadly March 16 shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, in which eight people — six of whom were Asian women — were killed at three local spas.
"We feel grief and anger," BTS said, going on to detail some of the racist attacks they've experienced as Asian men. "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 said. "We cannot put into words the pain of becoming a 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," BTS added. "But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away at our self-esteem. What is happening right now cannot be disassociated from our identity as Asian. It required considerable time for us to discuss this carefully and we contemplated deeply on how we should voice our message."
The statement continued: "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."
The beloved boy band previously spoke out about racial issues last year in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after international racial injustice protests erupted following the death of George Floyd. The group also donated $1 million to the movement.
"We stand against racial discrimination," they said in a public statement on social media back in June. "We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together."
The eight victims of the Atlanta shooting have since been identified as Soon Chung Park, 74, Hyun Jung Grant, 51, Suncha Kim, 69, Yong Ae Yue, 63, Delaina Ashley Yuan, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44. The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been arrested and charged with eight counts of murder and one count of assault in connection with the shooting.
Since the deadly incident, stars like Olivia Munn, Daniel Dae Kim and Jamie Chung have used their platforms and large social media following to speak out against the rising violence against Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, showing support for the AAPI community.
Many celebrities have also financially contributed to support different AAPI organizations. The Masked Singer judge Ken Jeong donated at least $50,000 to the families of the shooting victims on their GoFundMe pages, while Megan Thee Stallion, in partnership with Fashion Nova and journalist/activist May Lee, donated $50,000 to Advancing Justice Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to the rights of Asian Americans in Georgia and the Southeast.
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Protests have also sparked across the globe in support of the AAPI community in the aftermath of the shooting. Grey's Anatomy alum Sandra Oh recently spoke to a crowd of masked people at a "Stop Asian Hate" protest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"I am proud to be Asian," Oh told the crowd, receiving loud cheers.
As attacks on Asian Americans have continued to rise in recent months, according to a recent Harris poll, 75 percent of Asian Americans are fearful of increased hate and discrimination toward them.