'Let's not hate others'
Biden and BTS send unmistakable message to world
K-pop group BTS met with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday, conveying a message against anti-Asian hate crimes and racial discrimination while vowing to help eliminate them. This was the final day of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We hope that the whole world beyond America will listen to these voices.
"A lot of our Asian American friends have been subject to real discrimination," Biden said. "Hate only hides. When good people talk about it and say how bad it is, it goes down. So, thank you." In response, BTS leader RM thanked the U.S. leader for his recent decision to sign the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law.
Group member Jimin said the group was "devastated" by the recent surge of hate crimes in the U.S. "To put a stop to this and support the cause, we would like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves again," he said through an interpreter. Another group member V also called for people to respect one another. "All people have their own history. We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person."
Faced with increasingly frequent acts of violence against Asians amid the spread of COVID-19, the Biden administration enacted a law to cope with this trend. In March 2021, a shooting incident in Atlanta, Ga., killed eight Asians, including four ethnic Korean women. At the time, BTS also issued a statement saying they opposed racial discrimination and violence.
Korean society also needs to listen. "It's not wrong to be different," Suga, another group member, said at a press briefing while stressing the need to tolerate difference. "Equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences." Koreans must also use the event as an opportunity to reflect on and confront the hatred and prejudice within ourselves.