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"What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians," the K-pop supergroup said in a message to their fans.

By Nick Romano
March 30, 2021 at 09:59 AM EDT
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K-pop megastars BTS have come out to share their own experiences facing racism in light of the recent escalations of violence against Asians.

In a statement released on Monday, shared in both Korean and English, the members of BTS — which include RM, Jin, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook, and SUGA — recalled "moments when we faced discrimination as Asians."

"We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look," they wrote in the joint statement. "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," they continued. "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."

On March 16, Robert Aaron Long, a white man, was arrested after conducting a series of shootings at three spas in Atlanta that left eight people, mostly Asian women, dead. The tragedy reignited the call to "Stop Asian Hate," as other violent acts against Asian people in the United States and around the world have increased.

The violence appears to be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, which former President Donald Trump routinely referred to as "the China virus."

A study from California State University's Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism found that hate crimes against Asians in 16 of the largest cities in America increased 149 percent in 2020.

"What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians," BTS said. "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."

Many celebrities have used their platforms to speak out against these violent acts, but BTS, with their global reach, are some of the biggest stars to get involved.

Killing Eve Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Sandra Oh attended a Stop Asian Hate protest in Pittsburgh, Pa., earlier this month where she called on attendees to take action when they see discrimination against her "sisters and brothers" in the Asian communities.

"If you see something, will you help me?" she asked.

"This is not a current phenomenon, violence against [Asians] is as old as American history," George Takei said during a roundtable discussion with EW and other Asian entertainers.

"In this case, it was that has-been president who constantly used that phrase, 'Chinese flu,' 'Wuhan flu,' or 'kung flu,' that these uneducated people take it out on the most fragile, vulnerable people in the community, the elderly," he added. "And they are cowards, and cowards are throughout American history."

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