“My boyfriend and I were riding the Metro into DC. When on the escalator in the transfer station, a man repeatedly punched my back and pushed past us. At the top, he circled back toward us, followed us, repeatedly shouted “Chinese b**ch” at me, fake coughed at, and physically threatened us. A few days later, we saw a news story about how the owner of Valley Brook Tea in DC was harassed and pepper sprayed by the same man, calling him “Covid-19″ repeatedly.”
— report of a hate crime in Annandale, Va, to Stop AAPI Hate.
During the first nine months of pandemic, when former President Donald Trump chose to inaccurately call the coronavirus the “China virus,” he fomented, if not tacitly sanctioned animosity and discrimination toward people of Asian descent.
The Virginia assault was just one of 3,795 incidents nationwide reported to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021. Stop AAPI Hate documents reports of violence, discrimination, harassment and civil rights offenses against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
According a separate Pew Research Center survey, 31% of 278 respondents reported having experienced racial slurs or racist jokes since the beginning of the pandemic. (The sample includes English-speaking Asian Americans only and, therefore, may not be representative of the overall Asian American population.)Since most incidents aren’t reported, the figures are likely an undercount. It doesn’t include the March 16 murders of six Asian women by a white man in Atlanta.
“I am a Pacific Islander. 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.” She then said, “Go sail a boat back to your island.” — report from Dallas, Texas, to Stop AAPI Hate
Here is a brief look at the type and location of the nearly 3,800 incidents against Asian Americans, as well as a breakdown by ethnicity and gender:
68.1% — Percentage of discriminatory acts that involved verbal harassment and name calling
11.1% — of acts that entailed physical assault
7.2% — of acts in which someone was coughed on or spat upon
35.1% — Percentage of locations that were businesses where the incidents happened
25.3% — of locations that were public streets/sidewalks
42.2% — Percentage of victims who were Chinese
14.8% — who were Korean
8.5% — who were Vietnamese
68% — who were female