Over 2,500 Racist Incidents Reported Since March
August 27, 2020—Since its official launch on March 19, 2020, Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian American discrimination amid the pandemic, reports that it has received a total of 2,583 incidents of discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) across the U.S. from March 19 to August 5, 2020.
These attacks against AAPI women, men and children were collected from 47 states and Washington, D.C. The significant number of self-reported incidents demonstrates the widespread racism that AAPIs continue to experience amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following trends and patterns emerged:
- Verbal attacks are rampant. Seven out of ten incidents involved verbal harassment, which included racial slurs, name calling, and profanities. Physical assaults made up 9% of the incidents.
- Civil rights are being violated. Potential civil rights violations, including workplace discrimination and being barred from establishments and transportation, comprised 8% of the incidents.
- Incidents at businesses are prevalent. Over 38% of the hate incidents took place at places of business, followed by public streets (20%) and public parks (11%). Online incidents comprised 11% of the incidents.
- There are gender disparities in incidents. Women reported discrimination 2.4 times more than men.
- Discrimination affects people of all ages. One in seven of those reporting were young people under 20 years old (14%); elderly made up 7.5% of the respondents.
- Majority of reports in California. California accounts for over 46% of the incidents, followed by NY (14%); WA (4%); IL (3%) and TX (3%).
“The thousands of incidents and trends in this report are difficult to face, and yet they are only the tip of the iceberg — many more incidents go unheard and unreported. We may never be able to paint the full picture on the true gravity of how catastrophic this issue is, but the portrait of what we’re seeing in this data today should give rise to every American to take action against the racism running rampant through our country,” said Russell Jeung, Ph.D., professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. “Fear and political rhetoric are driving discrimination against our AAPI communities — and it’s up to all of us to put an end to it.”
As the country continues to face uncertainty around the reopening of schools and the looming presidential election in November, Stop AAPI Hate is deeply concerned that anti-Asian American discrimination will dramatically increase in the coming months. As students begin to interact in a school-based environment and political candidates from both parties vie for power in the election cycle, Stop AAPI Hate foresees greater opportunities for racist rhetoric, misinformation and anti-Chinese bias from our communities to the highest office in the country.
“Taking action to address anti-Asian American racism is not a partisan issue. As the 2020 election looms over us, we must hold all candidates across the aisle accountable to take an overt stance on mitigating the harm against AAPIs in the U.S.,” said Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. “We’re already dealing with the fallout of damaging rhetoric and policies against our communities from the Trump administration, from plans to limit Chinese students in U.S. schools to his repeated use of racially-charged terms like ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung Flu.’ Every leader vying to represent our communities must answer to this critical issue of our time.”
Some first-hand accounts from Stop AAPI Hate’s latest report include:
- “I’m a healthcare worker. I saw a maskless man sit across from me on the subway. I moved to the other side of the train car and he followed. He spat and coughed on the subway while yelling racial slurs. No one stood up for me.” (New York, NY)
- “A white woman in an SUV mounted the curb to try and run over one of my family members taking a walk for exercise. This woman saw that they were Asian, pulled over, started yelling and spitting at us, drove off, then turned around and tried to run them over with her car and even mounted the sidewalk to chase them.” (Thousand Oaks, CA)
- “I was in line at the pharmacy when a woman approached me and sprayed Lysol all over me. She was yelling out, ‘You’re the infection. Go home. We don’t want you here!’ I was in shock and cried as I left the building. No one came to my help.” (Marietta, GA)
Facing this upsurge in hate incidents, AAPI communities have found ways to fight back, working to pass resolutions and official statements against anti-Asian American discrimination, community efforts to promote racial justice and launching social media campaigns to counter online racism. Yet, Stop AAPI Hate believes the responsibility lies beyond just the AAPI community and calls on all government leaders, corporations, schools and policymakers to include safeguards and policies against bias and discrimination as critical elements of their COVID-19 response in order to mitigate further incidents of anti-Asian American discrimination.
“The time for leaders to step up and address anti-Asian American racism and hate is long overdue. Unless we all take collective action to address the widespread racism against AAPIs amid the pandemic, it will have generational and devastating impacts on the lives of millions in our country that will take decades to reverse,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. “We both invite and urge leaders, businesses and schools to join this fight to quell anti-Asian American racism and ensure these egregious incidents are put to a stop in the U.S.”
Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian American discrimination amid the pandemic, was founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department.
The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) is a coalition of more than forty community-based organizations that serve and represent the 1.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the greater Los Angeles area, with a particular focus on low-income, immigrant, refugee and other vulnerable populations.
Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) was founded in 1969 to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. Today, CAA is a progressive voice in and on behalf of the broader Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial and social injustice.
SF State Asian American Studies (AAS) is the oldest and largest such academic program in the nation. Founded after the 1968-69 Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front student strike, it maintains the strike’s values of student activism, social justice, and community self-determination.