Almost 25% of Young AAPIs Face Discrimination Because of Pandemic, Report Says


About one in four Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) young adults had a firsthand experience of discrimination amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report shows.

Most of the incidents involved verbal harassment, shunning and online bullying, while a smaller percentage involved being coughed at, spit on or physically assaulted.

The report was published Thursday by the Stop AAPI Hate Youth Campaign, a high school internship program under Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that has tracked incidents of anti-Asian discrimination since mid-March.

With funding from the Jeremy Lin Foundation, the campaign involved 87 Asian American high school students who interviewed 990 AAPI young adults for the report in summer.

Of those respondents, 244 (24.65%) reported having experienced discrimination firsthand. Verbal harassment comprised most (43%) of those incidents, followed by shunning (26%) and online bullying (21%). Being coughed at, spit on or physically assaulted made up 10%.

Among the incidents involving verbal harassment, 59.67% blamed Chinese people as the source of the pandemic, while another 25.81% related to dietary habits, such as asking and shaming Asians for eating bats or dogs.


Of those who experienced shunning, 49.4% recalled people deliberately avoiding them in public spaces, while 40.5% received “hard or angry” stares. The remaining 10.1% involved other actions, most of which saw strangers covering their face or nose when close to an AAPI youth.

Meanwhile, more than half of the cases (52.5%) of online bullying — which took place in platforms such as Instagram, Omegle, TikTok and Yubo — related to the idea of Asian Americans causing or carrying COVID-19. Another 47.54% criticized dietary habits.

The report also addressed the impacts of such experiences. Of the 244 respondents, 32% expressed concern for their family, 30% felt fear and 16% were surprised after the incident.

“I think it’s terrible, absolutely terrible. I think it’s demeaning to see fellow Americans ridiculing, harassing, and abusing other Asian Americans,” a 16-year-old respondent said. “I find it absolutely disgusting how Trump calls it the ‘Chinese virus,’ which leads to more xenophobia. We should be coming together to overcome this rather than harassing people who aren’t at fault.”

In July, Stop AAPI Hate also released a report on the youth, which made up 16% of all reported incidents (2,499) at the time. Researchers found that adults were present in almost half of the incidents (48%), but bystanders intervened in only 10% of the cases.

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