Nearly a quarter of white people do not see racism against Asian people as a problem to be fixed, a new poll has found.
Nonprofit Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) published the finding in its first STAATUS (Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S.) Index, which shows national attitudes toward Asian Americans.
Key findings: STAATUS, among the first of its kind in 20 years, surveyed a total of 2,766 U.S. adults between March 29 and April 14.
- Eight out of 10 Asian Americans reported feeling discriminated against, according to the poll. Specifically, 77% of the group do not feel respected — slightly lower than African Americans (86%), on par with Hispanic Americans (77%), but above white Americans (31%).
- Despite global coverage, 37% of white Americans said they were not aware of the increase in anti-Asian incidents in the past year. Furthermore, 24% of the group do not believe that anti-Asian racism is a problem to be addressed.
- The survey found that the model minority myth persists, with adjectives such as “smart,” “intelligent” and “hard-working” still being used to describe Asian Americans. However, respondents are most comfortable to have Asian Americans as doctors, nurses, friends or co-workers, but less comfortable to have them as bosses or as president of the country.
- Twenty-six percent of Republicans, 6% of Democrats and 24% of people above 65 believe “China Virus” is an appropriate term for COVID-19. Twenty percent of all respondents also believe Asian Americans are more loyal to their home countries than to the U.S.
Why this matters: The poll reinforces the fact that some still fail to see Asian people as a marginalized group in American society.
- LAAUNCH is working with partner organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Gold House and others to evaluate data, raise awareness, promote solidarity and develop programs that tackle bias against Asian Americans.
- “Inspired by the ADL’s research, we developed the STAATUS Index in collaboration with academics from University of Massachusetts, Boston; University of California, Los Angeles; and Princeton University to not only understand the root causes of racism and violence towards Asian Americans, but also to help shape American attitudes toward our community moving forward,” said Norman Chen, co-founder and chief executive officer of LAAUNCH.
- LAAUNCH plans to release the survey annually to track changes in perception and inform new programs that address underlying causes of racism.
- The nonprofit calls for more education on Asian American history, increased Asian American representation and a greater understanding of the impact of systemic racism.
Dominic Ng, chairman and CEO of East West Bank, whose Foundation provided a grant for the survey, said that while the findings were unsurprising, getting them matters.
“What’s important is that now we have data. That is crucial to create greater awareness, educate stakeholders and inform policymaking moving forward,” Ng said.