The Biden White House has made a habit of enlisting celebrities and influencers, particularly those popular with young people, to raise awareness about specific issues. BTS, a popular Korean K-POP group, visited the White House to reignite advocacy against racially motivated attacks on Asians.
#StopAsianHate was a frequently used hashtag on Twitter several months ago, after a flurry of attacks on Asian Americans took place around the country. In response to the violence, Biden signed the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to give law enforcement resources to investigate crimes against Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders”.
The name of the law implies that the attacks on Asians were somehow a result of rhetoric from former President Trump and many of his allies. Use of terms like “China virus” and “Wuhan virus” were blamed for fueling animosity toward Asian Americans. The narrative was that white Trump supporters were radicalized by this rhetoric and compelled to attack Asians out of revenge.
Contrary to this however, are the fact that many of the most heinous examples of anti-Asian violence were perpetrated by inner-city blacks, as tensions between the two groups seem to be more visible. High-profile examples of anti-Asian violence in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City all fit this pattern. A decrease in policing also may be contributing to this. However, this has often been ignored by the corporate press. Also, these attacks seem to have nothing to do with blaming Asians for Covid-19.
Andy Ngo: “#StopAsianHate” falls silent when hate crime suspects are black
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) March 18, 2022
Bringing BTS to the White House moved the needle in terms of awareness. Often, very few people watch White House briefing live streams. Sometimes, the briefings attract only several hundred viewers, though this particular K-Pop installment drew over 300,000 viewers, according to the Washington Post.
Previous celebrity guests to the White House were typically invited to advocate for the coronavirus vaccine. Pop stars Olivia Rodrigo and Selena Gomez both were invited to promote vaccinations to their young fan bases. The Biden White House also enlisted several prominent TikTok influencers to “explain” that Vladimir Putin, and not the actions of the current administration, were to blame for high gas prices.