The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, but Americans of Asian descent have had to deal with an additional crisis that accompanied the arrival of COVID-19: an alarming increase of hate, vitriol, and harassment directed at them simply because of their ethnic backgrounds or national origin.
This disturbing reality has only recently spilled out into public view, but it’s nothing new for Americans of Asian descent. Over the past year, we’ve heard countless horrifying stories from friends and family about what they’ve endured. Asian Americans are being harassed at the grocery store, blamed for the coronavirus crisis, and yelled at to “go back to China.”
And, sadly, some Asian Americans have been the victims of more than just harsh words. Elderly men and women were physically assaulted in California and Arizona; a father and his two young children were stabbed in a Texas parking lot; and, most recently, six Asian American women were murdered in brutal attacks on several Georgia spas. All of these incidents reinforce the concern and vulnerability that many Asians in America feel as this hatred seems to rise, unabated.
While reports of hate crimes declined last year in 16 of America’s largest cities, reports of those against Asian Americans surged nearly 150 percent. A Pew Research survey conducted in June, just a few months into the pandemic, found that an astonishing 31 percent of Asian Americans said they had experienced some form of discrimination since it began.