Attacks on the Asian American community have not slowed down so far in 2021, despite increased national attention and political action against anti-Asian hate, a new report released on Thursday finds.
There were upwards of 9,000 anti-Asian hate incident reports from March 19, 2020, to June 31, 2021, reported Stop AAPI Hate. 4,548 of the attacks occurred in 2020 and 4,533 occurred in 2021, with the number increasing from 6,603 to 9,081 during the last three months of the reporting period, said the report.
“Our data clearly shows that Asian Americans across the country continue to be attacked, and that the hate incidents that we have been tracking since March 2020 are not going away,” Manjusha Kulkarni, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, said in a news release.
Verbal harassment and deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up the majority of hate incidents, followed by physical assaults and being coughed at or spat on, the report found. A majority of the victims of the reported hate incidents were women.
Several factors contributed to the data, from an increase in incidents to a greater desire to report, Kulkarni told the Associated Press. As the economy opened up more in the past few months, it meant more public interactions and opportunities to attack, she said. Also, a bump in reporting typically occurs after a high-profile incident like the March 16 Atlanta-area spa shootings that left six Asian women dead.
“When you encourage hate, it’s not like a genie in a bottle where you can pull it out and push it back in whenever you want,” Kulkarni told AP. “There’s too much perpetuating these belief systems to make them go away.”
The uptick in anti-Asian violence was first reported in March 2020 as COVID-19 began spreading across the nation and some politicians, including former President Donald Trump, blamed China for the pandemic.
Since then, lawmakers have advanced legislation, police departments have created task forces and hotlines, and community members have organized demonstrations and neighborhood watch programs.
But “It’s not going to be likely to decrease any time soon unless we are very vigilant about it,” Van Tran, an associate professor of sociology who studies the experience of Asian Americans at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, told USA TODAY in May. “We have yet to create and engender institutional change and behavioral change at the largest scale.”
Contributing: N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY; Associated Press