Nearly 20% of AAPI people say they’ve experienced a racist incident in the past year, according to a new survey from the coalition Stop AAPI Hate.
By Marina Fang
Nearly 1 in 5 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders report having experienced an incident of racism or discrimination in the past year, one of several grim findings from a new survey illustrating that the wave of anti-Asian racism stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to harm AAPI communities around the country.
The survey, conducted by Stop AAPI Hate and Edelman Data & Intelligence, collected data from 928 Asian American respondents and 160 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander respondents. Among other things, it found that Asian Americans with a high school education were twice as likely to have experienced a hate incident (41%) compared to Asian Americans with some college education (19.8%) or a bachelor’s degree or higher (13.8%).
According to the survey, 31% of Asian Americans and 26% of Pacific Islanders reported experiencing a hate incident at work. Once again, Asian American respondents with a high school education were far more likely to report experiencing a hate incident at work (65%), compared to respondents with some college education (31%) and respondents with a bachelor’s degree or higher (21%).
“It’s tragic but not surprising that Asian Americans with lower education levels are experiencing more hate,” Cynthia Choi, one of Stop AAPI Hate’s co-founders and the co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, said in a statement. “Anti-Asian hate is tied to systemic racism against our community. Stopping hate is not about quick fixes like law enforcement but about deeper investment in our communities.”
Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of advocacy groups and scholars formed in March 2020, also released its newest data of reported incidents of racism and discrimination, which it began collecting at the beginning of the pandemic. As of Sept. 30, the group has amassed 10,370 incidents of anti-Asian hate. The actual number is likely higher, since the incidents are self-reported.
Consistent with previous data, most of the incidents have involved AAPI people being verbally harassed or shunned, and the incidents have primarily taken place in businesses and on public streets. Sixty-two percent of the incidents were reported by AAPI women, demonstrating the toxic combination of racism and misogyny.
More than 10% of the incidents took place online, and more than 11% involved a civil rights violation, such as workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, being refused service or being barred from public transit.
According to the survey, more than 30% of Asian American parents and 31% of Pacific Islander parents said their child had experienced a hate incident at school. In addition, 23% of Asian American respondents and 21% of Pacific Islander respondents said “they are reluctant to go back to in-person work because of potential anti-AAPI hate or discrimination.”
The advocates say these findings demonstrate a dire need for increased education and public awareness of racism, and they called on more schools to incorporate ethnic studies into their curricula.
“The levels of Asian American children experiencing hate in school is devastatingly high,” Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and one of Stop AAPI Hate’s co-founders, said in a statement. “There needs to be an urgent push toward incorporating solutions that promote racial understanding in schools, including through investment in Ethnic Studies.”
The advocates also recommend focusing on community-based initiatives and culturally specific civil rights resources to combat racism, rather than law enforcement practices such as over-policing and criminalization, which disproportionately harm communities of color, including AAPI communities.
A demonstrator holds a sign that reads "Asians are not viruses, racism is," at a demonstration at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles on March 13.
RINGO CHIU VIA GETTY IMAGES