BTS Visits The White House to Discuss Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
“Hi, we are BTS and it is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion and diversity.”
Korean pop supergroup BTS visited the White House last Tuesday and met with President Joe Biden as a part of a visit to discuss Asian inclusion and representation. President Joe Biden played ‘Butter’ for BTS members to make them ‘feel at home’ during their White House visit. Addressing anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination, each member expressed their worries and insights about the on-going hatred and disinformation about Asian Americans.
The group went on and explained how surprised they are that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the globe transcending languages and cultural barriers. “We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things,” members said. The group’s visit actually comes days after President Biden returned from his first trip to Asia as President, which included a three-day stop in Seoul and meetings with newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
BTS members also shared their own experience regarding discrimination against Asians, amid a spark of anti-Asian hate crimes in the US, including shootings at three Atlanta area spas. “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 Asian spoke in English,” the group said in a statement re-tweeted over million times. They also continued, “We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason.”
Crimes targeting East Asians have risen dramatically in the US amid COVID-19 pandemic. According to CNN, the uptick in anti-Asian crime and hostility toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 10,000 hate crimes against AAPI persons were reported to advocacy organization Stop AAPI Hate between March 19, 2020, and December 31, 2021. “It’s not wrong to be different,” BTS member Suga said through an interpreter. “Maybe equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
President Joe Biden has previously spoken about his commitment to combating the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes. He signed a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes into law in May 2021. Biden and BTS, the White House stated, “will discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world.” President Biden posted a tweet late Tuesday night featuring a video of his meeting with BTS, which quickly became the top tweet he has published during his presidency. To watch the full video, you can visit https://twitter.com/POTUS.