University of Michigan Study of Anti-Asian Hate Analyzes More than 1,000 Incidents from 2020

A study from the University of Michigan reveals new information on anti-Asian hate incidents from last year.

Background and key findings: The new study comes from the Virulent Hate Project, which uses news media to research trends in anti-Asian racism and Asian American activism.

  • The project reviewed 4,337 related articles from national and local news sources, as well as Twitter posts, that were published in 2020.
  • Of those articles, researchers identified 1,023 unique incidents of anti-Asian racism, which included, (a) 679 incidents of “anti-Asian harassment and vandalism” and (b) 344 incidents of “stigmatizing and discriminatory statements, images, policies and proposals.”
  • In analyzing the news articles of anti-Asian incidents, the study found that only a small fraction explicitly identified race — among those few, “the majority of perpetrators of anti-Asian harassment were reported to be male and white.”
  • The study also found: “The politicians who used and supported stigmatizing rhetoric, policies, and proposals were predominantly white, male, and affiliated with the Republican Party.”

About the project: The Virulent Hate Project aims to identify, analyze and map incidents of anti-Asian harassment, violence, discrimination and stigmatization.

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  • The project brings together faculty members and student researchers from the University of Michigan, University of Maryland, University of Washington, University of California-San Diego and San Francisco State University.
  • It is funded by the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions initiative and the Center for Social Solutions.
  • The project supports the work of national coalition Stop AAPI Hate and Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative.
  • “We imagine this project as not just counting incidents of anti-Asian racism, but collecting hundreds of stories that can help shape the public conversation,” said Melissa Borja, the project’s lead researcher and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies program.

Read the full study here.

Featured Image via Jason Leung

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