Since the coronavirus outbreak, there has been an alarming increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States. Asians have been harassed and attacked under the false and ignorant assumption that they are to blame for the virus.
The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, and its partners, have received more than 1,500 reports of hate sentiments since mid-March. The majority of the reports involved verbal harassment, but also included complaints of job discrimination, physical assaults, vandalism, and businesses turning away Asian customers, according to the group’s executive director, Manjusha Kulkarni.
As stated in documents obtained by ABC News, the FBI has said that Asian Americans will likely experience an increase in these types of crimes.
The Trump administration has done little to stop the backlash. In fact, President Donald Trump has been criticized for encouraging such bias, by referring to the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus.”
The Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit group that provides free mental health support via text message, received a 39 percent increase in texts from Asians between the first week in January and the last week in March, which spiked during the week the president began using the phrase, as shown in the graph below.
This data also shows that the impact of racism related to COVID19 is beginning to take form.
A civil rights group named OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates sent a letter to Trump, asking him to make a statement condemning racism against Asians. Trump then told reporters that Asians are “amazing people and the spreading of the virus is not their fault in any way, shape or form.” Although community advocates appreciated the comment, they are still waiting for the administration to take broader and more organized steps to solve this issue, such as creating a task force to prioritize anti-Asian hate crimes.
In addition to public figures and organizations, civilian witnesses can also make a stand against this issue by intervening in and reporting the hate related incidents they see.