In this op-ed, the editor discusses the racist comments of German radio host Matthias Matuschik towards Korean band BTS in the larger context of the rise in violence toward Asian people globally.

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” These are words that continue to be true years after Plato spoke them and ring more true in recent times.

There has been a grown increase in hate crimes towards the Asian community recently and although, sadly, it’s not something new, it has gained enough momentum to garner the spotlight in news stories nation wide. But not much is being done about it. We don’t presume to know everything happening around the world but we will speak on what we aware of. We at the site feel that it is our duty to use our platform, however small it may be, to speak up and be the voices for those who are not being heard. 

It’s been months since the pressure pot has been brewing with hate speech coming from political leaders and people in power using their platforms to disseminate fear and hate to their followers. Starting off by blaming the current pandemic on the Chinese and hence grouping all Asians as the ones to blame. Now, a German host on the German station Bayern 3, named Matthias Matuschik, has taken it up a notch and openly attacked the Asian community on air. Under the guise of “opinion” he has made racist comments referring to worldwide popular Korean group, BTS, criticizing their recent appearance on MTV Unplugged.

Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion on whether they like a certain style of music or not and we may consider ourselves as music connoisseurs but there is a big difference between opinion and hate speech. This radio host not only said he disliked the groups music, which would have been fine, but he went on to compare them to the COVID-19 virus stating his hopes for a vaccine for them to be available soon. He also slammed BTS for covering ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay, calling it sacrilege and blasphemy. He also excused  himself by saying “You can’t accuse me of xenophobia just because of this boy band. I have a car from South Korea.”

Where is the problem in this statement? It’s plain as day when you compare people to a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. A virus that is a topic of contention amongst many. A virus that is hated worldwide. His words are especially hateful in a climate where hate crimes and attacks against, not only Koreans, but the entire Asian community are going unchecked. From elderly people to young kids being attacked, stabbed, robbed, beaten to death, this is not the time to use a platform such as radio to give listeners the go ahead to hate on anyone. Whether they be a popular group like BTS or your next door neighbor. One would think a person in such a position of power would know better than that to use his mouth as a loaded gun and ask his listeners to pull the trigger.

Everyone who is an active member of social media and the kpop community knows that BTS cannot be disrespected to this point without their fan base speaking out and they have done so to a point as to extract and “apology” from the radio station. A weak one at that.

Bayern 3 issued a response, saying Matthias was simply playing a “character” who also expressed “his opinion clearly, openly, and without make-up, in his attempt to express his opinion in a clear, open and ironic, exaggerated way and with exaggerated excitement.”

Playing a character, is that what it’s called when you veil hate speech under the guise of being funny and stating an opinion? How is it okay to encourage people to dehumanize a group of Korean men by equating them to a disease? It must be an easy thing to do when you’re part of the “superior race” simply because you’re white. What we find most ironic is that he defended his remarks under the guise of being appalled for Coldplay while missing the point that Coldplay themselves approved of the cover and went on to call it “Beautiful” and shared it on their platforms. Who are you, Matthias Matuschik, to send such hate in the name of one artists to bash and openly send hate towards another along with an entire culture? Who gave you the authority? Just because you hide behind a mic does not make you right. The “I’m not racist because my friend is Asian, I love Asian food, I listen to Asian music” is the most racist and ignorant remark one can make. Remarks like these play into the xenophobic attitude towards Asia and Asians that are somehow considered okay.

His statement is also comically off-color considering that the Asian countries have been on top of containing outbreaks of COVID-19 better than any western countries. So blaming the Asian community for your counties’ lack of awareness, regulations and action to prevent the rampant spread of this deadly virus is far off the mark. But that’s a whole other topic.

What has made it okay to spew hate speech and incite others to attack a gender or race that is different from yours? What in any way makes putting down others and inciting violence acceptable?  Have we lost our sense of humanity or forgotten the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?

As children we were taught that if we see something to say something but lately it seems that as a society we have been groomed to look out for ourselves and turn a blind eye when we see things like this. So we are urging you to please speak up for those who are considered minorities and are not able to defend themselves. If you see something in your community, do something. Speak up. Hold others accountable.

As fellow members of the online community we hold this radio host accountable for his actions not because he’s attacked the most beloved artists worldwide who, may I add, stand for things like speaking for yourselves, fighting for your goals, believing in yourselves and loving yourselves, but because letting such racist remarks slide is akin to being part of the problem.

Racism and xenophobia is not an opinion.
Racism and xenophobia is never okay.

Wij zijn tegen racisme.
Racisme is geen mening.

우리는 인종 차별을 반대합니다.
인종차별은 본인의 의견이 안입니다.