68% of Asian Americans in California Now Fear They are Targets of Racism, Surveys Reveal

A series of surveys revealed that members of the Asian American community are wary of both race relations and the COVID-19 situation in the United States.

What the surveys were about: A coalition of nonprofit organizations looked into viewpoints from different ethnic groups about the current pandemic, systemic racism, as well as the policies pertaining to them.

  • The surveys were conducted by the Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE) in partnership with Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and the Los Angeles Urban League. 
  • The poll series, which collected responses from 1,184 adults in California, was done in two parts: one in February and one in July. 
  • In a statement, CAUSE Board Member and poll director Dan Schnur pointed out the importance of gathering relevant data to measure the perceptions of the different communities in California.
  • “These historic series of polls track the shifts in Californians’ attitudes towards some of our state’s most pressing issues, and we now have a more vivid picture of how communities of color are feeling in California,” Schnur explained. “This is the first time that organizations representing these three communities have teamed up on a project like this one, and we’re honored that CAUSE was able to play such an instrumental role in bringing this coalition together.”

What the numbers say: According to the poll, 74% of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) in California fear the worst effects of COVID-19 are yet to come. Meanwhile, 68% of APAs are also concerned that they are and can be targets of anti-Asian racism. 

  • Overall, the survey found that 86% of them were “worried about themselves or their immediate family contracting COVID-19.”
  • 76% of APAs also believe that the local economy will continue to tank if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in California, while 77% are concerned that the initiatives to reopen and lift restrictions are way too early.
  • 50% of APAs expressed that since the start of the pandemic, they feel or have felt personal discrimination from others.
  • Only 44% of APAs described race relations in the country as “excellent” or “good.” Back in February, 57% of APAs expressed the view.
  • Recognizing discrimination towards other groups, 77% of APAs believe that African Americans “frequently or sometimes” face racism while 70% believe that the Latino community faces the same.
  • The poll also touched on anti-Black racism in policing, with 54% of APAs acknowledging that the police’s use of violence against unarmed Black individuals were examples of systemic racism, although “31% believe these are isolated incidents.”
  • Meanwhile, 79% of APAs expressed support for police reform, while 33% of them prefer that the funding for law enforcement should be allocated instead to other government agencies.
  • 56% of APAs also believe that protests are good for the country as they promote racial unity and optimism.

A call to action: CAUSE Board Chair Charlie Woo said that the situation calls for the Asian community in California to “play a leadership role in taking on the state’s most pressing challenges and working together toward necessary solutions.”

Feature Image via Getty

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