The number of hate crimes committed against Asian Americans during the first quarter of this year is over 5 times that of 2020, reported the Washington Examiner.
A report released on Thursday by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said that so far there have been 86 reported attacks against Asian Americans in 2021, compared to only 32 during the same period in 2020.
The increase in the first quarter of 2021 comes on the heels of a surge in similar crimes a year before. There was an increase of 146% across 26 of America’s largest jurisdictions during 2020, according to a previous report by the same group, reported the Washington Examiner.
The initial spike took place in March and April of last year, alongside an increase in U.S. COVID-19 cases, a rise in rhetoric that stigmatized the Asian community and an official declaration of a pandemic by the World Health organization, the report said.
A recent Pew Research study found that about one-fifth of Asian Americans directly attributed the attacks to former President Donald Trump and his "China virus" rhetoric. Van C. Tran, a sociologist and associate professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center said that while Trump created a "nightmare scenario" of normalizing racist remarks and behaviors, the surge of hate crimes — and anti-Asian racism in general — can't be pinned to any single cause, reported NBC News.
Experts have also pointed to the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, as a possible reason behind the increase in hate crimes directed at the Asian community.
Here are some examples of recently reported attacks:
- An 84-year-old Thai immigrant in San Francisco, California, died last month after being violently shoved to the ground during his morning walk.
- In Oakland, California, a 91-year-old senior was shoved to the pavement from behind.
- An 89-year-old Chinese woman was slapped and set on fire by two people in Brooklyn, New York.
- A stranger on the New York subway slashed a 61-year-old Filipino American passenger's face with a box cutter.
- Asian American restaurant employees in New York City told the New York Times they now always go home early for fear of violence and harassment.
- An Asian American butcher shop owner in Sacramento, California found a dead cat - likely intended for her - left in the store's parking lot; police are investigating it as a hate crime.
- An Asian American family celebrating a birthday at a restaurant in Carmel, California, was berated with racist slurs by a Trump-supporting tech executive.
- Several Asian Americans homeowners say they've been abused with racial slurs and had rocks thrown at their houses.
- The only Asian American lawmaker in the Kansas legislature says he was physically threatened in a bar by a patron who accused him of carrying the coronavirus.
- New York police arrested a man who assaulted a woman during a protest against anti-Asian racism.
- A grieving family received a hateful letter on the day of their father's funeral, telling them to "pack your bags and go back to your country where you belong," reported BBC News.
New York City had more than three times the number of anti-Asian hate crimes, 42, more than any other city. The Big Apple had 13 during the same time last year, marking a 223% increase in hate crimes. San Francisco, which reported 12, and Los Angeles with 9, ranked second and third in the number of anti-Asian hate crimes so far in 2021; their totals increased by 140% and 80% from last year, respectively, reported the Washington Examiner.
Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Cleveland are the only cities included in the study that showed a decrease in the number of hate crimes from the first quarter of last year to this year. According to the report, each city had one hate crime in which the victim was an Asian American in 2020, while none of the cities have had any reported thus far this year.
Last Thursday, the Senate passed legislation to combat anti-Asian hate crimes more forcefully in a nearly unanimous vote. The bill, which was sponsored by Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, would establish a position within the Justice Department to review and expedite all reports of such hate crimes, and it would expand support for state agencies to respond to such hate crimes, reported the Washington Examiner.
Late last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a 30-day review of the Justice Department’s strategy in fighting hate crimes.
Garland, in the memo reviewed by the Washington Examiner, said the review would look at how the government can do better to “increase and help track the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents that may violate federal law,” as well as to “prioritize criminal investigations and prosecutions to hold offenders accountable utilize civil enforcement authorities to address unlawful acts of bias that do not rise to the level of hate crimes.”
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