As we’ve been reporting for months, America is experiencing a wave of hate-fueled anti-Asian attacks. And now a new report compiled by researchers at California State University shows just how bad the issue has become, with newly released data showing documented attacks on Asians soaring by nearly 150% over the previous year.
According to the study from CSU’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there were at least 122 different anti-Asian American hate crimes reported in the 16 most populous U.S. cities in 2020.
Voice of America’s Masood Farivar reported that “Asian American rights advocates attribute the unprecedented string of attacks to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric blaming China for the deadly coronavirus and, more broadly, the scapegoating of Asian Americans by ordinary people frustrated or angered by the economic and social impact of the pandemic.”
In an interview with Farivar, Chris Kwok, a board member for the Asian American Bar Association of New York, said “I think the political leadership under Trump really put a target on the backs of people perceived to be Chinese. It’s Sinophobia.”
New York City reported the largest increase in anti-Asian hate crimes over the past year: 28 different incidents, a ninefold increase over attacks that took place in 2019. Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Jose and Los Angeles also reported triple-digit increases in attacks.
When asked about his study’s findings by Farivar, Brian Levin, executive director of the hate and extremism research center, said, “While most cities experienced overall hate crime declines, including attacks against groups that had recently spiked like Jews, attacks against Asians rose materially in most cities, and only declined in one — Washington, D.C.”
Levin then added that his group’s research suggests that “2020 will be the worst year this century for anti-Asian hate crime.”
Other groups have reported similarly alarming data. Farivar said that “Stop AAPI Hate,” a tracker created last year by several Asian American groups, has recorded more than 2,800 incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans between March and December 2020. While verbal harassment and shunning made up more than 90% of the incidents, physical assaults accounted for nearly 9%.”
Of those 2,800 incidents, Stop AAPI Hate also reported that 126 of the incidents it tracked involved Asian Americans over the age of 60.
In a statement, the group said, “These violent assaults have a devastating impact on our community as they are part of an alarming rise in anti-Asian American hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Proving the rise in attacks has been fueled in large part by the pandemic and anti-Asian fears stoked by various government leaders, the CSU researchers reported that on the whole, hate crimes last year declined by roughly 7% — a drop fueled in large part by quarantining, stay-at-home orders and a decrease in cultural events and large public gatherings.