Quick Coverage: CLC’s Sorn Should Think Before She Posts

If you’re in or adjacent to Korean pop culture fandom spaces and somehow thought we’d be ending 2019 without further antiblackness from idols or their fans…

a) I’m not sure how you got to that conclusion considering how bad 2019’s been

b) You were wrong.

You were wrong, and now we have another month where an idol has thoroughly proven themselves to give less than zero shits about Black people and Black fans.

Have we had a month yet where an idol hasn’t fucked up on some way? Have we had a month in 2019 that wasn’t rife with antiblackness directly revolving around Korean pop and/or hip-hop as genres or within their fandom spaces?

I mean…

January brought us TK Park’s straight up nonsense about how Korean’s can’t appropriate Black culture because something-something we forced Koreans to get into hip-hop and now we’re closing out the year with… this shit from a member of CLC.

At some point today(/last night on the other side of the world from me) CLC’s Sorn posted a group photograph that she’d taken with three of her friends. Innocent enough until you realize that the one guy on the far right of the photo is wearing a mask that’s clearly a racist caricature of a Black person’s features.

(And please, don’t come at me with some “oh is that what you think Black people look like” bullshit because literally, depictions of Black people as buck-toothed bumpkins is a staple of antiblack imagery dating back centuries.)

The uncensored picture is so obviously racist that I didn’t want it on my actual blog.

That’s how bad it is.

And folks following Sorn realized it too and complained at her until she took it down.

Problem is?

The next thing that Sorn apparently does post is another selfie with the words “Sometimes some people just gotta chlll, I’m not stupid” along with a peace sign emoji.

Many of her followers took that as a sign that she was telling the people being critical of her posting the photo with her friend in the super freaking racist mask to “chill”.

Like… how could she??

Sorn did like four things wrong in this situation that I know of:

  • Sorn took a photograph with her friend in this racist mask in the first place
  • She then posted the picture with her and her friends – including the one in the mask
  • Then Sorn deleted the photo from her account (no idea if she responded to people around then)
  • Finally, she posted her “gotta chill” post on Instagram

At 7:59PM EST – so around about 10AM in Korea if I’m doing the math right – Sorn got on twitter to post an apology that was absolutely reminiscent of Camilla Cabello’s apology for her own participation in antiblackness posted the day before, writing that:

Hey everyone, in light of recent events, I sincerely apologize for my actions. Specifically, I am sorry for being culturally insensitive and in no way was I trying to intentionally offend anyone. In hindsight, I am realizing how this photo could have offended others. I am genuinely sorry, and will reflect upon my mistakes. I’m not asking for anyone’s forgiveness but I am writing this message to say that I know how much people are hurt by the picture I posted last night. I understand that people are allowed to feel and I am in no way expecting the people I offended to forgive me. Sorry guys and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Sorry for disappointing you Cheshire.

This is yet another bad apology for antiblackness, and y’all know how I feel about those.

Sorn, like Camilla Cabello and Gina Rodriguez before her, doesn’t actually say who she’s apologizing to or detail what she’s apologizing for. Sorn doesn’t acknowledge the issues at play here, that she took and posted a photo with her posing with a friend in racist mask and then she deleted the image without apology and tried to shade critics over it.

She says that she’s going to reflect upon her mistake but like –

What about the friend who’s wearing the mask? How’s her relationship with him going to change? How’s his understanding of Blackness going to change like… And then when it comes to the actual reflection: will Sorn actually work to unpack and unlearn the internalized antiblackness that made it possible to see her friend in that mask and just shrug it off like it was no big deal?

Or is she going to pull an Amber and pretend nothing’s happened on Instagram before returning Twitter with no sign that she realizes that Black people are people?

At the end of the day, Sorn… you’re not apologizing for cultural appropriation, sweetie. This wasn’t insensitive. This was hurtful and alienating and kind of… a reminder that this industry, these artists, and their fans do not register us as people worth caring about. It’s a reminder that too many people don’t care about hurting us until they’ve done and have had to apologize –

And then then, it’s about image, not about distress at hurting real people.

Sorn’s apology, like Amber’s, is unexpected because I never expect people to apologize for the antiblack shit that they’ve done.

However, it’s still not a good one.

Sorn sidesteps actually addressing the real people hurt by her photo and her attmepts at dismissing it. She apologizes directly to CLC’s fandom for disappointing them, but never says words like “racist” or apologizes to Black people for taking the picture and hanging out with someone who clearly doesn’t think highly of Black people.

Y’all… I am so fucking tired.

I am tired of non-Black people not seeing anything wrong with their own antiblackness until after it’s been called out.

I’m tired of how we have yet to have a full month without some kind of antiblackness from a Korean artist or their fanbase – or both as these idols always have fans willing to defend them for their antiblackness.

I’m tired of people screeching about cancel culture “ruining lives” about artists in an industry that has never actually punished any idol for antiblackness.

I’m tired of folks rushing to forgive idols for antiblackness – especially other Black people like… do they think their biases will love them more in this case? Because they don’t seem to love us very much now…

I am tired of always being disappointed and never surprised by acts of antiblackness.

I am tired of how the backlash never fucking affects anything aside from how these idols and their die-hard fans decide that Black people aren’t worth respecting.  

Sorn will be fine.

She’ll do the Amber thing: a lil radio silence on one platform while folks bend over backwards to forgive her and absolve her from all responsibility and then maybe she’ll toss a selfie up on Instagram with some token Black friends to remind us that she’s down with the negros…

But what Sorn will never do is actually address the antiblackness that allowed her to be in a room with her friend and that mask and decide to take a picture instead of smacking sense into him.

Sorn, again, will be fine.

But what about Black Cheshire?

What about Black Kpop fans constantly reminded that this space is apparently set up to kneecap us and make us feel inferior at every single turn?

How fine will be we be?


3 thoughts on “Quick Coverage: CLC’s Sorn Should Think Before She Posts

  1. I’m going to Amber’s concert. I bought tickets and backstage passes and then she showed her racism on Just Kidding. With all that’s happened recently, I do not want to go meet her or get an autograph … Except maybe I’ll ask her why she’s trying so hard to prove how many black friends she has.

    Want me to send her to your blog?

    It’s embarrassing to see Amber try to advocate for Asian-American rights but then not understand what anyone else in the United States experiences. I think I take it personally because she meant so much to me… I looked up to her so much, and she’s not showing any remorse or sincerity.


    • Hi J! Thank you so much for reading my work!

      And I don’t want you to get into any trouble, but if you feel comfortable suggesting that she head to my site, that’d be great! Especially as I have yet to get a response to Amber the times/ways I’ve tried to communicate with her about this.

      I’ve tweeted Amber with a link to my piece about her and sent her an email through her site about how much it hurt to see her comments and her following silence, but so far… nothing. Radio silence. I guess she wants to leave it in her past but… I’m definitely still hurting and I know many people are stunned by how she just… doesn’t seem to care.

      Thanks again for reading my work and for your offer, I really appreciate it!


      • Awww thanks so much for your kind response! I will report back with what I find out from Amber.

        You’re a very important voice in fandom (I know you cover more than just K-pop), and your blog posts remind me of the stuff I’ve noticed in my other fandoms (anime, video games, RuPaul’s Drag Race, etc.) Please know that you do have people listening to you and agreeing with you.

        I’ve had a bad time recently of losing hope or trust in a lot of my role models. It makes me wary to be a fan. But I do admire you and respect your courage!


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