Was what happened to Stray Kids at the MET Gala racist? SuperNayr

Over the last few years, the MET Gala has begun to welcome K-pop superstars into its fold. While many major names were notably absent from this year’s event, a lot of stars also made their debut. Stray Kids, the stellar group of idols, were one of such artists. However, what was supposed to be a night of art and fashion for the group, became one of extremely questionable behavior towards the group. 

Stray Kids, who have become the subject of major comeback rumors, made their appearance on the red carpet at the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art, representing Tommy Hilfiger as global ambassadors. However, their experience was marred by unfortunate incidents. The eight-member group faced challenges, including having to deal with disturbing comments from the event’s photographers. This treatment understandably provoked anger and dismay among many, regardless of their fandom affiliation. But the question remains: was what happened at the MET Gala a racist act against Stray Kids’ members?

Was Stray Kids subject to racism at the MET Gala?

As if the paparazzi don’t already have a bad rep, their behavior towards the Stray Kids at the MET Gala was appalling. But let’s get one thing straight. This was an act of racism against Stray Kids. The majority of the group’s members are not native speakers, so hurling instructions at them in a condescending tone is insulting. While the paparazzi are known for their general douchebaggery, the MET Gala has never been the place for such behavior. And if we’re keeping things one hundred, they wouldn’t dare “instruct” European and American celebrities in such a crude manner.  

The industry’s disregard for K-pop culture is not new, and even the mighty BTS has fallen prey to racism and discrimination by the West. By choosing to verbally attack Stray Kids publicly, it shows a complete lack of respect and empathy for foreigners by these photographers. 

To add insult to injury, when Stray Kids removed their coats for their outfit reveal, the photographers collectively expressed dissatisfaction at having to take additional pictures. You’d think they weren’t hired professionals for the event with the way they behaved. Some photographers even remarked, “Looks like they’re going to start performing,” and “Everybody jump!” 

Linguistic racism

Seemingly fed up with the impolite comments, Bangchan, the leader of Stray Kids, began clapping and signaling to the group that it was time to go. Amidst the commotion, a photographer shouted, “How do you say ‘RUN!’ in Korean?” followed by “Arigato!”

“Arigato” is Japanese and not Korean, which further proves the point that racism was at play here. By choosing to insert another Asian country’s language in the mix, the paparazzi ran with the racist rhetoric that Asians are all the same. These remarks were also made so boldly that the photographers seemed to assume none of the members understood or spoke English. However, it’s worth noting that two Stray Kids members, Bang Chan and Felix, are Korean-Australian and native English speakers, having grown up in Sydney, Australia.

Rising above the insults, Bang Chan took the high road in a subsequent interview, claiming he “had a good time” at the event, despite the unfortunate situation that took place.

Fan reactions

The incident at the MET Gala prompted a swift online backlash, as many highlighted the racist comments and disrespectful demands made by the photographers. Fans expressed outrage and support for Stray Kids, with comments like “The racism was so loud,” “Stray Kids don’t deserve that behavior,” and “This is gross behavior from the paparazzi.” 

In addition to identifying the photographers responsible for the offensive remarks, fans have raised awareness about the issue. Other K-pop fandoms have also drawn parallels to past racist incidents involving groups like BTS. Even non-K-pop fans recognized the disrespect and shared their sympathy. 

Although organizers of the MET Gala have not issued any official statements, the controversy has received significant attention.  

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