After Viral Torrance Video and President Trump’s “Kung Flu” Comments, Stop AAPI Hate Increases Calls on California to Take Clear Action
July 1, 2020 — Asian Americans in California have self-reported 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment in the last three months, including 81 incidents of assault and 64 potential civil rights violations, according to Stop AAPI Hate, the leading aggregator of incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic. Stop AAPI Hate released the findings today in a press briefing where they were joined by CA Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and Chair of Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus David Chiu to make specific and urgent policy demands of the CA state legislature.
Discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans in California has drawn national attention recently after a series of videos in Torrance, California featured a woman using graphic racist language against Asian Americans. The videos have received millions of views, and reflect just a handful of the incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate in California. Anti-Asian American harassment has also been further stoked by President Trump’s repeated use of the term “Kung Flu” in recent rallies, and as recently as last night, comments on Twitter scapegoating China for the United States’ devastating failure to control the coronavirus.
“Racist demagoguery matched with anti-immigrant policies have always been used to deny Asian Americans full social and political rights,” said Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. “In California, we have to do more than condemn racist rhetoric — we must take bold action today to address attacks whether they happen in grocery stores, in the workplace or in the schoolyard.”
Stop AAPI Hate has been advocating since April for the state to establish a Racial Bias Strike Team to further investigate the widespread and growing problem of COVID-19-related hate against the Asian American community in California and determine the most effective policies to address this problem. Nonetheless, California’s state budget, voted on last Friday, excluded specific funding for initiatives advocated for by the Asian American community in California. Governor Newsom has left the millions of Asian Americans in California in the dark about what accountability and action they can expect.
“We have presented Governor Newsom with clear and effective tactics to combat discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. “Asian Americans need to see concrete actions and we’re here to work with the state to ensure that we can live free from racial discrimination and enjoy equal rights and access.”
The new report shows that incidents of racism and discrimination are not isolated to any particular area but are a statewide problem — Asian Americans have reported incidents in 34 counties so far. Incidents are reportedly taking place in California in retail stores, in the workplace and online.
“A man kicked my dog and told me to shut my dog up and then spat at me, saying ‘Take your disease that’s ruining our country and go home,’” reported an Asian American in Santa Clara.
In San Francisco, an Asian American reported, “Someone threw a glass bottle at my friend while she was putting her baby in the car and yelled, ‘Go home, chink.’”
In Los Angeles, an Asian American reported, “Our Zoom feed was hacked by white supremacists who verbally attacked our members and viewers with racial slurs and anti-immigrant remarks. They also hacked into our Zoom chat typing the Nazi salute (Seig Heil) and pro-Trump messages.”
Last night, the Stop AAPI Hate coalition sent Governor Newsom a further letter recommending the establishment of a Racial Bias Strike Team comprised of key state agencies and departments that have jurisdiction over public education, implementing state and federal civil rights laws, overseeing workplace and employment discrimination, providing mental health services to vulnerable communities, and offering support to local Asian American-serving community-based organizations.
“The viral video of racism in Torrance is one example of hundreds. It’s the tip of the iceberg of anti-Asian American hate and discrimination,” said Russell Jeung, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. “Without government accountability, we risk COVID-related racism against Asian Americans becoming deeply entrenched, ultimately impacting the lives of millions of people in California and around the country.”
The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center 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.