Anti-Asian hate incidents — attacks that do not rise to the level of a hate crime — have increased in 2020 by a whopping 1,800% in California’s Orange County, according to a new report from the nonprofit Orange County Human Relations Commission.
Driving the surge: For the past decade, the county logged only four to five incidents against Asian Americans each year, according to Nhi Nguyen, the commission’s hate crime prevention coordinator. However, 2020 saw a total of 76 incidents against the community, a surge attributed to the growth of anti-Asian sentiment around COVID-19.
- “Community members have been told to go back home and blamed for bringing COVID,” Nguyen said, according to Voice of OC. In one incident, a stranger reportedly yelled “f*cking Chinese, coronavirus” at an Asian family near a gas station.
- Even the Orange County Board of Supervisors has felt the impact of anti-Asian sentiment. During a meeting in July, a man called Supervisor Andrew Do a “communist” and told him to “Go the f*ck back to Vietnam,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
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The big picture: The commission’s report showed a total of 112 hate crimes and 263 hate incidents in 2020. Asian Americans reported the largest fraction of hate incidents by race, followed by African Americans (38) and Hispanic Americans (15).
- There were seven cases of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, but this figure still marked a 40% increase from 2019. For comparison, the total number of hate crimes (112) in 2020 was a 35% increase from 2019.
- These findings mirror statewide trends. Data from California’s Justice Department show that hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by 107% in 2020.
- Across all motivations, most hate crimes were reported by African Americans (30), while the most number of hate incidents were reported by the Jewish community (94). The LGBTQ community reported 12 hate crimes and 22 hate incidents.
- “Sadly, hate crimes against Jews and Blacks are not surprising in Orange County,” Gustavo Arellano, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times, told KCRW. “What’s shocking people right now is just the incredible rise in hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian Americans, a significant minority in Orange County.”