More than 2,500 attacks against Asian Americans have been reported from mid-March to early August, an indication that hate toward the community persists despite some measures implemented to prevent it.
The latest figure comes from Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that has tracked anti-Asian discrimination amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
By mid-April, the number of anti-Asian attacks recorded in 2020 had reached 1,135. Just four months later, that number has more than doubled for a total of 2,583 recorded incidents from 47 states and Washington D.C.
For 20 weeks from its launch on March 19 to August 5, the coalition received 2,583 incident reports from 47 states and Washington D.C.
Seven out of 10 cases (70.6%) were verbal harassment, which included name-calling, racial slurs and other profanities.
Shunning, or the deliberate avoidance of AAPIs for their race, comprised 21.8% of the incidents. Physical assaults constituted 8.7%, while incidents of being coughed at or spit on accounted for 6.4%.
“A white woman in an SUV mounted the curb to try and run over one of my family members, who was just out taking a walk for exercise. This woman saw that they were Asian, pulled over, started yelling and spitting at us, drove off, then turned around and tried to run them over with her car and even mounted the sidewalk to chase them,” a report from Thousand Oaks, California said.
A majority of the reports — an overwhelming 1,116 cases (or 46.36%) — were filed in California. This is followed by New York (14.13%), Washington state (4.15%), Illinois (3.03%) and Texas (2.99%).
Meanwhile, most of the incidents occurred in places of business (38.4%), followed by public streets or sidewalks (20.4%), and public parks (11.1%). These figures corroborate events in such locations that made the news.
Online incidents were also included in the mix. These included the case of students from Colorado State University advertising a fake restaurant called “Ching Chong House,” which NextShark previously reported on.
Stop AAPI Hate found other notable trends on gender and ethnicity. Women were targeted 2.4 times more than men, while Chinese respondents made up 40.4% of all cases.
“The thousands of incidents and trends in this report are difficult to face, and yet they are only the tip of the iceberg — many more incidents go unheard and unreported,” said Russell Jeung, Ph.D., professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. The program formed Stop AAPI Hate alongside the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA).
Jeung added, “We may never be able to paint the full picture on the true gravity of how catastrophic this issue is, but the portrait of what we’re seeing in this data today should give rise to every American to take action against the racism running rampant through our country. Fear and political rhetoric are driving discrimination against our AAPI communities — and it’s up to all of us to put an end to it.”
The coalition fears that incidents will continue to increase as schools reopen and the November election draws near. So far, there have been efforts to suggest that President Donald Trump’s use of the terms “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” negatively affects all Asian Americans.
“Taking action to address anti-Asian American racism is not a partisan issue. As the 2020 election looms over us, we must hold all candidates across the aisle accountable to take an overt stance on mitigating the harm against AAPIs in the U.S.,” said Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. “We’re already dealing with the fallout of damaging rhetoric and policies against our communities from the Trump administration, from plans to limit Chinese students in U.S. schools to his repeated use of racially-charged terms like ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung Flu.’ Every leader vying to represent our communities must answer to this critical issue of our time.”
Stop AAPI Hate calls on all government leaders, corporations, schools and policymakers to establish protections for AAPIs. In May, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced a bill denouncing the use of the controversial COVID-19 terms, along with fellow Asian American Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). Duckworth and Hirono also urged the Department of Justice to take steps against the surge in hate crimes.
“The time for leaders to step up and address anti-Asian American racism and hate is long overdue. Unless we all take collective action to address the widespread racism against AAPIs amid the pandemic, it will have generational and devastating impacts on the lives of millions in our country that will take decades to reverse,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. “We both invite and urge leaders, businesses and schools to join this fight to quell anti-Asian American racism and ensure these egregious incidents are put to a stop in the U.S.”
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