South Korean supergroup BTS posted a statement to their website and social media on Monday night that condemns the recent wave of anti-Asian violence currently rippling through the US. The group also used the statement to share their own experiences of racism they’ve faced for being of Asian descent.
Though it is not mentioned in the statement, their words come after the horrific shootings on 16th March outside Atlanta where a gunman visited three Asian massage parlours and killed eight people, including six Asian women: Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Soon Chung Park, 74; Suncha Kim, 69 and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
The statement, posted in both Korean and English sees the band calling on the feelings of “moments when we faced discrimination as Asians”. They speak of moments they were ridiculed for the way they looked, and for the languages that they speak.
They cast their own experiences aside for a moment to say that “our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks.”
They then stress how those experiences made them feel, saying that they those moments made them feel “powerless and chip away our self-esteem.”
In a call to arms, they use the statement to call for an end to racial discrimination. “We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”
This is not the first time the band have used their platform to bring awareness to social justice movements. Last year, BTS and their label, Big Hit Entertainment, donated $1 million to associated Black Lives Matter groups.
Read the band’s full statement in English:
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.
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) March 30, 2021