Asian Americans reported nearly 3,800 hate-related incidents during the pandemic, a number that experts believe to be just a fraction of the true total.
From 19 March 2020 to 28 February 2021, Asian Americans from all 50 states experienced everything ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults, from getting coughed on to getting denied services because of their ethnicity, according to a report released on Tuesday by Stop AAPI Hate, a not-for-profit coalition tracking incidents of violence, discrimination and harassment.
More than 68% of the abuse was verbal harassment or name-calling, while 11.1% was physical, the report found.
The report also contains numerous first-person accounts. “I was at the mall with a friend. I was wearing a plumeria clip and was speaking Chamorro when a woman coughed and said, ‘You and your people are the reason why we have corona’,” read one testimonial from Dallas, Texas, in the report. “She then said, ‘Go sail a boat back to your island’.”
“During an Asian American protest, a white man driving a silver Mercedes drove past the first wave of Asian protesters, yelling out of his window at them, ‘Stupid f*cking Asians!’” read one testimonial from Elk Grove, California. “Afterwards, he drove to where the remaining Asian protesters stood and was witnessed by multiple protesters aggressively driving onto the walkway where several protesters were gathered.”
The report comes amid growing awareness of anti-Asian violence in the US following several recent attacks. In Oakland, California, a 75-year-old man from Hong Kong died after being robbed and assaulted by a man police said had a history of victimizing elderly Asian people. Earlier this year, an 84-year-old Thai man, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was killed in a seemingly unprovoked attack in San Francisco.
“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, and the types of discrimination they face,” the report authors wrote.
The authors noted that before the surge of awareness around anti-Asian attacks, Stop AAPI Hate had documented 2,808 incidents in 2020 but had since received a number of other reports.
In addition to physical and verbal assaults, the report documented incidents of vandalism, online harassment, workplace discrimination, being barred from transportation or establishments, and avoidance or shunning – all because the victims were Asian.
“A [ride-hailing service] driver said to me after I got into his car, ‘Damn, another Asian riding with me today, I hope you don’t have any Covid’,” read one testimonial from the Las Vegas in the report. “After I told him, ‘Have a good day’, he replied back, ‘You shouldn’t be requesting anymore rides from anybody’.”
Women reported hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. California and New York, the two states with the largest Asian American populations, had the most reported hate incidents, with 1,691 reported in California and 517 in New York.