News & Updates

  • Why the trope of Black-Asian conflict in the face of anti-Asian violence dismisses solidarity

    Posted by · September 16, 2021 9:26 AM

    Brookings - A recent survey shows that more than three out of four Asian Americans worry about experiencing hate crimes, harassment, and discrimination because of COVID-19. Among Chinese and Asian Indians, the figures are even higher at 84 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

    These findings may be unsurprising in light of shocking video footage of anti-Asian violence that has recently gone viral. Viewers of these videos witnessed perpetrators shoving elderly men and women to the ground, assaulting Asian American men and women in the face, and stabbing an Asian American man  in the back with an 8-inch knife. Asian-owned businesses like New York’s Xi’an Famous Foods, already under financial stress because of the pandemic, are also struggling to keep their employees safe. The spate of unprovoked attacks elicited a rallying cry that something must be done. For Asian Americans, however, this cry is a year overdue.

    Since March of last year, there have been over 3,000 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian violence from 47 states and the District of Columbia, ranging from stabbings and beatings, to verbal harassment and bullying, to being spit on and shunned. While being spit on is offensive, in the time of coronavirus, it is also potentially lethal.

    Democratic lawmakers, led by Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y. and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said they would introduce new anti-hate crime legislation to address a rise in hate incidents directed at Asian Americans. The bill would create a new position at the Department of Justice to facilitate the review of hate crimes and provide oversight of hate crimes related to COVID-19.

    The Trope of Black-Asian Conflict

    These senseless acts of anti-Asian violence have finally garnered the national attention they deserve, but they have also invoked anti-Black sentiment and reignited the trope of Black-Asian conflict. Because some of the video-taped perpetrators appear to have been Black, some observers immediately reduced anti-Asian violence to Black-Asian conflict. This is not the first time that the trope has been weaponized. Black-Asian conflict—and Black-Korean conflict more specifically—became the popular frame of the LA riots in 1992.

    The trope failed to capture the reality of Black-Korean relations three decades ago, and it fails to capture the reality of anti-Asian bias today. A recent study finds that in fact, Christian nationalism is the strongest predictor of xenophobic views of COVID-19, and the effect of Christian nationalism is greater among white respondents, compared to Black respondents. Moreover, Black Americans have also experienced high levels of racial discrimination since the pandemic began. Hence, not only does the frame of two minoritized groups in conflict ignore the role of white national populism, but it also absolves the history and systems of inequality that positioned them there.

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  • A ‘History of Exclusion, of Erasure, of Invisibility.’ Why the Asian-American Story Is Missing From Many U.S. Classrooms

    Posted by · September 13, 2021 11:49 AM

    A group of children saluting the American flag at a school in the Chinatown area of Manhattan circa 1960. - Keystone View/FPG/Getty Images

    On the morning of March 17, Liz Kleinrock contemplated calling out of work. The shootings at three Atlanta-area spas had happened the night before, leaving eight dead including six women of Asian descent, and Kleinrock, a 33-year-old teacher in Washington, D.C., who is Asian-American, felt the news weighing on her heavily.

    But instead of missing work, she changed up her lesson plan. She introduced her sixth graders over Zoom to poems written by people of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during World War II. Her lesson included “My Plea,” printed in 1945 by a young person named Mary Matsuzawa who was held at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona: “I pray that someday every race / May stand on equal plane / And prejudice will find no dwelling place / In a peace that all may gain.”

    “I feel like so many Asian elders have been targeted because of this stereotype that Asians are meek and quiet and don’t speak up and don’t say anything, and therefore that makes our elderly easy targets,” Kleinrock said to TIME by phone, speaking of the purpose of the lesson. “And so it’s so important to be loud and to bring attention to this. Education is so important. If we don’t know our history, then we’re doomed to repeat the same thing over and over again.”

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  • Anti-Asian hate crimes in California jumped 107%, attorney general says

    Posted by · September 09, 2021 9:56 AM

    California Attorney General Rob Bonta released hate-crime statistics Wednesday showing a sharp increase in hate crimes against Asians last year.

    California AG says staggering jump in anti-Asian hate crimes

    KTVU's Henry Lee reports.

    "We're in a full-on state of crisis, state of emergency when it comes to hate crimes and hate violence," Bonta said.

    He spoke out in the heart of Oakland's Chinatown, where victims of Asian descent have been attacked and robbed.

    "It's important that I come here today as the California Attorney General, right here in Oakland Chinatown, my former assembly district, and say hate crimes are a priority," said Bonta, a former assemblymember who is from Alameda.

    Bonta said hate crimes against Asians in California jumped 107% from 2019 to 2020.

    The highest number of hate crimes happened in March and April of last year at the start of the shelter in place for the coronavirus.

    He said, "2020 wasn't just about a deadly virus. It was about an epidemic of hate as well."

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  • Hate crime reports in US surge to the highest level in 12 years, FBI says

    Posted by · August 31, 2021 8:53 AM

    More than 10,000 people reported to law enforcement last year that they were the victim of a hate crime because of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or disability -- a number that has been on the rise in recent years, according to FBI's annual hate crime statistics report.

    More than 10,000 people reported to law enforcement last year that they were the victim of a hate crime because of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or disability -- a number that has been on the rise in recent years, according to FBI's annual hate crime statistics report.

    The report, released on Monday, found more than 7,700 criminal hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI in 2020, an increase of about 450 incidents over 2019. The increase comes even as fewer agencies reported hate crime incidents in their jurisdictions to the FBI than in previous years.
    Last year had the highest tally of reported hate crime incidents since 2008, when 7,783 incidents were reported to the FBI.
    Attacks targeting Black people rose to 2,755 from 1,930, and the number targeting Asians jumped to 274 from 161, the data showed.
    The data released on Monday showed that bias against African Americans overwhelmingly comprised the largest category of reported hate crime offenses pertaining to race, with a total of 56% of those crimes motivated by anti-Black or African American bias. Asians have been targeted during the Covid-19 pandemic amid online and political rhetoric stigmatizing them, though this category of hate crime is often underreported.
  • White Supremacist Propaganda Spikes in 2020

    Posted by · August 17, 2021 9:13 AM

    Propaganda from groups such as Patriot Front, New Jersey European Heritage Association, Folks Front, and the Nationalist Social Club

     

    ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) tracked a near-doubling of white supremacist propaganda efforts in 2020, which included the distribution of racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ fliers, stickers, banners and posters. The 2020 data shows a huge increase of incidents from the previous year, with a total of 5,125 cases reported (averaging more than 14 incidents per day), compared to 2,724 in 2019. This is the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents ADL has ever recorded. The number of propaganda incidents on college campuses dropped by more than half, perhaps due to COVID restrictions.

    Propaganda gives white supremacists the ability to maximize media and online attention, while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash that often accompanies more public events. The barrage of propaganda, which overwhelmingly features veiled white supremacist language with a patriotic slant, is an effort to normalize white supremacists’ message and bolster recruitment efforts while targeting minority groups including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, non-white immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.

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  • Hate crime laws won’t actually prevent anti-Asian hate crimes

    Posted by · July 15, 2021 4:22 PM

    By centering policing, they do little to address the root cause.

    "

    The largest federal response to a surge in attacks against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic has been Congress’s Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. The law, passed last month, designates a specific Justice Department official to focus on reviewing such incidents and provides grants to police departments so they can establish hotlines for hate crime reporting.

    According to multiple experts, however, hate crime laws, like the one Congress just passed, serve a symbolic purpose but don’t really do much to deter people from committing hate crimes.

    In fact, much of the conversation around hate crimes has centered on what happens after an attack has already taken place. There’s been a focus on the collection of hate crime data, calls for more policing or security in various communities, and an examination of the types of penalties that perpetrators should face.

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  • ‘No Vaccine for Racism’: Asian New Yorkers Still Live in Fear of Attacks

    Posted by · July 14, 2021 5:52 PM

    New York Police Department patrols aimed at stopping anti-Asian violence have been cut back even as anxiety lingers.

    A protest in April against anti-Asian attacks. The violence has continued in New York as the city reopens and more visitors roam the streets.

    The surveillance video captures a brutal scene: A woman is thrown down a flight of stairs and smacks into the subway platform violently enough to fracture a bone in her face. It was May 28, and the woman, in her 60s, was among dozens of people attacked during a spate of anti-Asian violence this year.

    It may not even have been the first such attack by the suspect, John Chappell, a law enforcement official said. Two months earlier, Mr. Chappell, who had dozens of prior arrests, had been suspected of lighting an Asian woman’s backpack on fire, the official said. He was released just days after his arrest in May.

    Six months into a series of brutal attacks on people of Asian descent across the city, Mr. Chappell’s case underscores the challenges the police and prosecutors have faced in both preventing the violence and punishing those responsible.

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  • California saw staggering rise in hate crimes against Asians in 2020

    Posted by · July 01, 2021 6:07 PM

    People take part in a Stop Asian Hate rally in San Jose, California.

    Anti-Asian crimes more than doubled while hate crimes against Black people increased by 87%, state reports reveal

    Hate crimes against Asians in California more than doubled in 2020, as part of an overall 31% surge in hate-based crimes, according to a pair of new reports by California’s attorney general.

    The increase in anti-Asian crimes was fueled by rhetoric, including that of Donald Trump, blaming Asian communities for the spread of Covid-19 in the United States, the reports said.

    “For too many, 2020 wasn’t just about a deadly virus, it was about an epidemic of hate,” said the attorney general, Rob Bonta. “The facts here are clear: there was a surge in anti-Asian violence correlated with the words of leaders who sought to divide us when we were at our most vulnerable.”

    While the reports highlighted the stunning increase in often-overlooked violence against Asians, hate crimes against Black people in California increased by 87% as well, and made up the largest number of events counted in the report – 456 of the total 1,330 hate crimes reported in 2020. The number of anti-Asian crimes jumped from 43 in 2019 to 89 in 2020 – a total increase of 107%.

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  • Covid 'hate crimes' against Asian Americans on rise

    Posted by · May 21, 2021 6:04 PM

    Two people holding stop Asian hate signs

    US President Joe Biden has signed a law that aims to address a rising number of anti-Asian attacks. What's behind the hatred?

    An elderly Thai immigrant dies after being shoved to the ground. A Filipino-American is slashed in the face with a box cutter. A Chinese woman is slapped and then set on fire. Eight people are killed in a shooting rampage across three Asian spas in one night.

    These are just examples of recent violent attacks on Asian Americans, part of a surge in abuse since the start of the pandemic a year ago.

    From being spat on and verbally harassed to incidents of physical assault, there have been thousands of reported cases in recent months.

    Advocates and activists say these are hate crimes, and often linked to rhetoric that blames Asian people for the spread of Covid-19.

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  • Virulent Hate + Reports: Anti-Asian Racism in 2020

    Posted by · May 17, 2021 7:40 PM

    To understand trends in coronavirus-related, anti-Asian racism, the Virulent Hate Project at the University of Michigan reviewed 4,337 news articles published between January 1 and December 31, 2020. We identified 1,023 incidents of anti-Asian racism, which included 679 incidents of anti-Asian harassment and vandalism and 344 incidents of stigmatizing and discriminatory statements, images, policies, and proposals. Asian and Asian American people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders experienced racist harassment, but women and people of Chinese descent experienced most of the attacks.

    Anti-Asian incidents peaked in March and April 2020, and harassment occurred across the United States, with incidents happening most frequently in businesses, on public transit, and on streets. In the incidents for which there were reported details about the individuals who were the source of anti-Asian harassment, discrimination, and stigmatization, the majority of the offenders were identified as male, white, and, in the case of politicians, affiliated with the Republican Party.

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