Here’s why K-pop fans got #WhiteLivesMatter trending

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-06-03 20:44

K-pop fans flood hashtags across Twitter and Instagram

You may have noticed the hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter trending on Wednesday.

Digging into it, you’d see that this wasn't started by users standing up for white people's rights.

Instead, K-pop fans around the world tried a new way to fight anti-black racism.

Why?

The death of George Floyd has sparked protests and the messages are spilling over onto social media.

Tweet that says: why is it 8am and i am literally teary eyed that kpop twitter hijacked the #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag to drown out the racism and fill with fancams and petitions like.....never DRAG THEM AGAIN. kpop stans are FOR THE PEOPLE.

How and why did K-poppers do it?

K-pop fans are known for being large in number and for their ability to flood hashtags on social media.

Instead of pro-white messages associated with the hashtag, K-poppers are using it to share both silly and anti-racist posts.

Some posters accused users who clicked on their posts for being racist, assuming they were attracted to the hashtag.

But most posts seem to be there to stand in solidarity with protesters, while showing off K-pop performances.

Original reason to drown the hashtag is unclear

The hashtag quickly started to trend on Twitter and parts of Instagram in what appears to be a response to some accounts sharing a white square with the hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter.

Tweet that shows twitter user showing a white square with the hashtag white lives matter

What does #WhiteLivesMatter mean?

Those drowning out hashtags like #WhiteLivesMatter with unrelated images and memes see it as a way to combat white supremacy online.

White supremacy is the belief that the white race is superior, or better than other races.

The White Lives Matter movement was co-founded in 2015 by American Rebecca Barnette as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“What happens to blacks in this country [United States] at the hand of law enforcement is none of our concern,” said Barnette in 2016.

The White Lives Matter website, which no longer exists, said its purpose is “dedicated to promotion of the white race and taking positive action as a united voice against issues facing our race,” as described by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to Heidi Beirich, the director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, White Lives Matter is a white supremacist group.

“They’re against integration, immigration. This is standard white supremacist stuff,” she said in a 2016 interview with the New York Times.

Most reactions to the K-pop flood have been positive

Many Twitter users expressed a mixture of relief and surprise after seeing that the hashtag was trending due to K-pop fans’ support of black voices.

Tweet of person clapping KPOP fandom. It says I was so confused when I saw this hashtag trending  #WhiteLivesMatter then I realised it’s #kpopstans trolling racists

Tweet that shows proud person and says Never thought the day would come when I would appreciate k-pop stans’ videos. They drowned out all the racist #WhiteLivesMatter posts with them. Maybe for once I’ll listen and actually stream what y’all tell me to


Top Image: (brookiescooky/Twitter, Philip Street/CBC)

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