Asian American Group Receives Nearly 3,800 Reports of Hate and Bias

In Brooklyn, New York, a white man catcalled an Asian American woman, aggressively followed her down the block, yelling in her face “ch.nk” and a sexually derogatory term.In Washington, D.C., a man punched an Asian woman in the back in a Metro subway station, repeatedly shouting “Chinese” and physically threatening her and her boyfriend.In Las Vegas, a ride-sharing service driver told his Asian passenger, “Damn, another Asian riding with me today, I hope you don’t have any COVID.”The three incidents are among nearly 3,800 firsthand accounts of hate and abuse directed at Asian Americans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago that originated in China, according to a coalition of Asian American advocacy organizations.In a new report released on Tuesday, Stop AAPI Hate said it recorded 3,795 anti-Asian hate incidents between March 19, 2020 – shortly after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic – and February 28, 2021. More than 500 of the incidents were recorded in 2021.“The number of hate incidents reported to our center represent only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur, but it does show how vulnerable Asian Americans are to discrimination,” Stop AAPI Hate said.Stop AAPI Hate was launched a year ago by a coalition of three Asian American groups to help Asian Americans report hate incidents during the pandemic.Asian American advocates say the wave of hate was fueled in part by former President Donald Trump’s frequent use of xenophobic language such as “kung flu” to refer to the coronavirus.In January, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum condemning the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes since the beginning of the pandemic.Verbal harassment and shunning made up 68.1 percent and 20.5 percent of the incidents, respectively, while physical assaults constituted 11.1 percent of the total incidents.While the reported incidents took place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, California – the state with the largest Asian American population – accounted for 45% of the incidents. New York, home to the second largest Asian community, accounted for 14%.Chinese Americans were the most frequently targeted group, reporting 42.2% of the incidents, followed by Koreans (14.8%), Vietnamese (8.5%), and Filipinos (7.9%), according to the report. Women were more than twice as likely as men to report incidents.The woman attacked in the Metro station in Washington told Stop AAPI Hate that the incident took place on an escalator in a transfer station.“A few days later, we saw a news story about how the owner of Valley Brook Tea in DC was harassed and pepper sprayed by the same man, calling him ‘COVID-19’ repeatedly,” the woman reported.No arrest was made in the case. The Metropolitan Police Department closed the case after the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to bring charges, according to an MPD spokeswoman.While most of the incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate do not rise to the level of hate crimes, a spate of anti-Asian violence in recent weeks has alarmed advocates and sparked protests around the country.The FBI defines hate crimes as criminal offenses motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation and other factors. Examples include assault and vandalism.Hate Crimes Targeting Asian Americans Spiked by 150% in Major US CitiesThe increase in anti-Asian hate crimes came as overall hate crimes declined, according to California State University dataIn January, Vichar Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old immigrant from Thailand, died after being viciously knocked to the ground in his San Francisco neighborhood. A suspect was later arrested and charged with murder.In response to the surge in anti-Asian violence, the Justice Department said last month that since the start of Biden’s administration it has trained hundreds of federal prosecutors and law enforcement officers to identify, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes and other civil rights crimes.“I want to be clear here: No one in America should fear violence because of who they are, or what they believe,” acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin said during a press call last month.   

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