Sunday, March 26th, 2023

There no reason to question why BTS was at the White House

There no reason to question why BTS was at the White House
Anti-Asian hate is a global problem, and the K-pop group is no stranger to speaking up about social issues and donating to social causes.

New Taipei City, Taiwan — Global K-pop icons BTS traveled to the White House on Tuesday to meet with President Joe Biden and speak to a packed briefing room of journalists about anti-Asian hate. On the last 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 support for the AANHPI community, condemn anti-Asian hate and promote inclusivity.

While the many reporters present and more than 300,000 viewers streaming on YouTube were clearly excited about the group’s presence and involvement with the campaign against anti-Asian violence, others, such as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, were less than impressed. On his show, Carlson took a quick jab at the Biden administration for getting “a Korean pop group to discuss anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States.”

His comment may have been aimed at the president, but it caught the attention of the group’s fandom, known as the BTS Army, who quickly flooded social media to push back against Carlson’s dismissive comment.

By raising an eyebrow at the involvement of BTS in a campaign against anti-Asian hate in the U.S., Carlson and like-minded critics gave themselves away as being ignorant of the group’s history of speaking up about social issues and donating to social causes, even ones pertaining specifically to the U.S. There was no reason to question why BTS was at the White House.

Following last year’s Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people, including six Asian women, BTS posted an impassioned statement in both Korean and English to its official Twitter account denouncing anti-Asian hate, violence and racial discrimination of any form. In the statement, the group briefly mentioned their own experiences as victims of anti-Asian racism, making it clear that this was an issue particularly close to their hearts.

“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians,” the statement said. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”

The tweet became the most retweeted tweet of 2021, with approximately 1 million retweets and 2.5 million likes worldwide.

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

There is no denying that by being from South Korea, BTS may not have had the same experiences as those in the AANHPI community who grew up in the U.S. But this does not mean that the band cannot understand what people who have experienced anti-Asian hate, or any racially motivated hate for that matter, have gone through and continue to go through, nor does it preclude the band’s members ​from being allies and lending support to such an important cause.

Unlike some of the group’s peers in the K-pop industry who are generally advised to stay mum about social issues, BTS is among the most prominent of K-pop artists who have spoken out about such issues. This, some have said, is in part a result of the group’s large number of international fans who have urged the group to use its platform to shine light on these issues, but it is also because of BTS’ own experiences with racism.

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