By N. Elmôr
A recent research report released by Stop AAPI Hate revealed that during 2020 and the start of 2021, there have been over 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate incidents. Stop AAPI Hate is a non-profit social organisation, launched in 2020 “in response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic”,4 that runs a reporting centre to track and respond to “incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States”.4
The data also shows that a disproportionate amount of the attacks were directed at women (approximately 68%). A professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University, Russel Jeung, stated that “there is an intersectional dynamic going on that others may perceive both Asians and women and Asian women as easier targets” - one of the factors that explains the disparity shown in the data.
The most common types of discrimination directed at Asians in the USA consist of verbal harassment (which makes us 68.1%) and shunning (20.5%). Other kinds of discrimination include physical assault and coughing or being spat on. Most incidents of discrimination occur at businesses where people are many times refused service or called racial slurs. About a quarter of incidents took place in public streets.
Professor Jeung clarified that Asian Americans, especially women, have always dealt with harassment or public safety issues. Nevertheless, with the pandemic, people have found an ‘excuse’ to target Asian Americans, and there has been an undeniable surge of hate incidents. While there seemed to be a lull of incidents during the summer, the professor explained that this was caused by underreporting because hate incidents became “sort of normalised”.
However, recently, Asian hate crimes have received increased attention from the mainstream media, and thousands of protests have taken place across the USA. These protests and rallies aim to raise awareness of the discrimination that the Asian American community has experienced for decades and call for legislative action to combat the issue. With this support, people began reporting incidents again.
Jeung concluded by saying that “addressing the root cause of the violence requires more education, more expanded civil rights protections and more restorative justice models”.4