More Americans agree that Asian Americans are partly responsible for COVID-19, according to the second annual Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S. (STAATUS Index), which surveys American attitudes toward Asian Americans.
Based on responses of 5,113 U.S. adults, the survey, which was conducted between Feb. 10 and Feb. 28, found that 21% (one in five) believe Asian Americans are at least partly responsible for the pandemic, up from just 11% last year.
In a similar trend, 32% (about one in three) agree that Asian Americans are more loyal to their perceived country of origin than the U.S., up from 20% in 2021.
These trends suggest Asian Americans have yet to gain full acceptance in American society.
“This year’s STAATUS Index is very alarming as it makes clear that attitudes toward Asian Americans are getting worse, not better, at a time when our communities continue to come under attack,” said Norman Chen, co-founder of Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) and CEO of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), the organizations behind the survey, said in a statement.
Chen added, “These results reveal just how deeply embedded anti-Asian sentiment is in America right now, fueled by generations of systemic racism that has pervaded every aspect of our society and culture.”
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Unsurprisingly, the index revealed that only 29% of Asian Americans feel accepted in the U.S. This is the lowest of all racial groups, with White respondents at 61%, Latino respondents at 42% and Black respondents at 33%.
Meanwhile, 71% of Asian Americans say they are discriminated against at present. But despite the surge of reports in anti-Asian incidents and the growth of Stop Asian Hate — the movement born to counter such incidents amid the COVID-19 pandemic — a whopping 31% of Americans remain unaware of such violence.
The survey also found that Americans still largely subscribe to the model minority myth. When asked how they would describe Asian Americans, 39% said they are kind or nice, 36% said they are intelligent or smart, and 23% said they are hardworking.
LAAUNCH and TAAF are reportedly working with leading research and data organizations such as AAPI Data and Stop AAPI Hate to raise awareness about the index’s results and pursue programs that would address anti-Asian hate. TAAF, for instance, is focused on improving public school curricula to ensure better teaching of AAPI history.
“In 2022, 58% of Americans can’t name a prominent Asian American and respondents most frequently identify Asian women and men in stereotypical roles like kung fu masters, criminals, geisha, sex workers and supporting roles. Prejudices continue to be reflected and perpetuated in film and media, which impacts how we view each other every day,” said Eric Toda, board member at LAAUNCH and advisory council member at TAAF.
“However, 71% of Americans — especially our younger generations — want to see greater Asian American representation in TV and movies. While we have seen some progress with leading Asian actors in movies like ‘Shang-Chi,’ ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ and popular series like ‘Pachinko,’ we need to increase visibility of Asian Americans by considering how we are portraying Asian characters, writing multi-dimensional narratives, and casting Asian Americans into mainstream, leading roles.”
Still, 41% of Asian Americans in the survey chose stronger laws and greater protection as the primary solution to combat anti-Asian hate. This is followed by education and more information (36%) and more interaction between Asian Americans and others (19%).
“Although this year’s Index paints a more sobering picture of the status of Asian Americans than our inaugural survey last year, having an accurate and shared understanding of how Asian Americans are perceived is the only way any of us — advocates, policymakers, business leaders, and everyday Americans — will know what solutions need to be pursued,” Chen said. “We clearly have a tremendous amount of work to do to ensure Asian Americans are fully — and finally — embraced in this country, but I am hopeful that the more we all understand the depth and breadth of these issues, the harder we will work to rectify them.”