Opinion | Why BTS speaking about anti-Asian hate at the White House made sense

 

New Taipei City, Taiwan — Global Ok-pop icons BTS traveled to the White House on Tuesday to satisfy with President Joe Biden and communicate to a packed briefing room of journalists about anti-Asian hate. On the final day of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the seven members of the boy band — RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook — took turns at the podium to voice their help for the AANHPI group, condemn anti-Asian hate and promote inclusivity.

While the many reporters current and more than 300,000 viewers streaming on YouTube had been clearly excited about the group’s presence and involvement with the marketing campaign towards anti-Asian violence, others, comparable to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, had been lower than impressed. On his present, Carlson took a fast jab at the Biden administration for getting “a Korean pop group to debate anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States.”

By elevating an eyebrow at the involvement of BTS in a marketing campaign towards anti-Asian hate in the U.S., Carlson and like-minded critics gave themselves away as being blind to the group’s historical past.

His remark might have been aimed at the president, but it surely caught the consideration of the group’s fandom, often known as the BTS Army, who rapidly flooded social media to push again towards Carlson’s dismissive remark.

By elevating an eyebrow at the involvement of BTS in a marketing campaign towards anti-Asian hate in the U.S., Carlson and like-minded critics gave themselves away as being blind to the group’s historical past of speaking up about social points and donating to social causes, even ones pertaining particularly to the U.S. There was no motive to query why BTS was at the White House.

Following final yr’s Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight individuals, together with six Asian ladies, BTS posted an impassioned statement in each Korean and English to its official Twitter account denouncing anti-Asian hate, violence and racial discrimination of any kind. In the assertion, the group briefly talked about their very own experiences as victims of anti-Asian racism, making it clear that this was a problem significantly near their hearts.

“We recall moments after we confronted discrimination as Asians,” the assertion mentioned. “We have endured expletives with out motive and had been mocked for the method we glance. We had been even requested why Asians spoke in English.”

The tweet grew to become the most retweeted tweet of 2021, with roughly 1 million retweets and a couple of.5 million likes worldwide.

In 2020, the group made a $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter shortly after the dying of George Floyd. Standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter supporters, the group posted to its Twitter account utilizing the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

There is not any denying that by being from South Korea, BTS might not have had the similar experiences as these in the AANHPI group who grew up in the U.S. But this doesn’t imply that the band can not perceive what individuals who have skilled anti-Asian hate, or any racially motivated hate for that matter, have gone by means of and proceed to undergo, nor does it preclude the band’s members ​from being allies and lending help to such an essential trigger.

Unlike a few of the group’s friends in the Ok-pop trade who’re typically suggested to stay mum about social points, BTS is amongst the most outstanding of Ok-pop artists who’ve spoken out about such points. This, some have said, is partly a results of the group’s giant variety of worldwide followers who’ve urged the group to make use of its platform to shine mild on these points, however it’s also due to BTS’ personal experiences with racism.

This private connection to the challenge, coupled with its sense of duty and love for its followers round the world, appears to be what continues to encourage the group to talk out and act to impact social change. And it’s what makes the band members the proper spokespeople for the challenge of anti-Asian hate — even in the U.S.

BTS has an enormous international fanbase with followers of various races and nationalities. So, when the Ok-pop superstars communicate and handle their BTS Army, as they did throughout their speech at the White House, they’re speaking to Americans in addition to to individuals from throughout the world. Their message to advertise Asian inclusion, variety and illustration is one that may give hope to their Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander followers and encourage non-AANHPI followers to hitch the motion towards anti-Asian hate.

When it involves altering social attitudes and tradition, an excellent message isn’t sufficient. A message is barely as robust as who delivers it, and the way. As artists, the members of BTS have all the time genuinely addressed the points younger individuals undergo and conveyed a message of hope in their music, which is one among the reasons their followers join with the group so deeply. Personally, I received by means of a very tough bout of homesickness once I lived in Hong Kong by listening to the band’s “Map of the Soul: 7” album and watching its hilarious behind-the-scenes movies.

As BTS grew to become extra outstanding globally, it partnered with UNICEF for the “Love Myself” campaign to finish violence towards kids and youths in order that they might lead secure lives. The band has additionally spoken at the United Nations General Assembly three times about quite a lot of essential world points comparable to poverty, local weather change and the Covid-19 pandemic. What the group has mentioned and accomplished has resonated with its followers, and the BTS Army has modeled lots of its personal initiatives after the group’s philanthropic efforts and causes.

Anti-Asian hate is a global issue, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It was solely becoming that Biden, the chief of the free world, invited BTS — undeniably a world power to be reckoned with — to talk out about the challenge and, it’s hoped, make issues higher in each nook of the world.


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