Over 16 Percent of Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Are Physical Assaults, Reveals New Data from Stop AAPI Hate
Stop AAPI Hate released new data revealing that Indian Americans represented two percent of those who reported a hate crime; the overwhelming majority of those experiencing hate were Chinese Americans. (Stop AAPI Hate image)
By SUNITA SOHRABJI/India-West Staff Reporter
More than 16 percent of hate crimes against Asian Americans over the past 20 months have been physical assaults, revealed the organization Stop AAPI Hate in new data released Nov. 18.
Stop AAPI Hate was founded in March 2020, as Asian Americans experienced unprecedented levels of hate speech and violence, largely fueled by former President Donald Trump, who blamed Chinese people for the Covid-19 pandemic. The organization launched a web portal so that the community could self-report hate crimes in a variety of Asian languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu.
Since its inception, Stop AAPI Hate has logged 10,370 hate incidents; over two-thirds were verbal harassment or hate speech. Based on the data collected, Stop AAPI Hate believes that one out of every five Asian Americans has experienced some manner of hate over the past 20 months.
Almost one-third of Asian American parents responding to a survey said their child had faced a hate incident at school.
Earlier this year, Indian American social activist Manju Kulkarni, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, told India-West she would not be surprised to see a backlash against Indian Americans as the term “India virus” made its presence on social media, following the revelation that the Delta variant — now the predominant variant across the world — was first identified in India.
Indian Americans represented two percent of those who reported a hate crime; the overwhelming majority of those experiencing hate were Chinese Americans. But on social media, in the months of April and May when India was experiencing a huge wave of Covid infections, with an estimated 10,000 people dying per day according to public health experts, tweets began emerging blaming Indians for the spread of the virus.
Kulkarni had shared with India-West several reports to Stop AAPI Hate of Indian Americans who experienced hate-based harassment. In one incident, a New Hampshire resident reported: “A neighbor kicked on our apartment’s door, screaming racial slurs (“towel head”), insults and abusive language. She threatened us to ‘Take it to the streets.’”
In another incident, a Washington state resident reported: “My 7-year-old daughter was approached by another girl of the same age, blond, shoulder length hair, bluish eyes. The conversation started out innocently about playing in lakes.”
“Then the blond girl asked my daughter if she jumped into a lake in India and swam all the way to the U.S. She asked her where she came from and if she should go back. My daughter was visibly upset and responded with ‘Why would you ask that? I was born here.’”
A resident from Seattle, Washington, reported: “A man insulted me on the bus saying that I was selfish for being in America eating at Whole Foods because I should be in my own country because it’s very poor and needs skilled people like me.”
“He said that we Indians were smart but very selfish and that we should be helping our own country and not the USA.”
India-West reported earlier this week an incident in Yorktown, New York, in which long-time town councilman Vishnu Patel was targeted with racist rhetoric and cursing on election night (See earlier story: https://bit.ly/3Hz1wDe). Patel told this newspaper it was not the first time he has experienced racism on the campaign trail, but believes Trump opened the floodgates of divisive rhetoric. “Donald Trump gave permission for the worst element to say and do things they would have never dared to do otherwise,” he stated.
Other findings from the Stop AAPI Hate report note that shunning — the
deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — made up more than 16 percent of reported cases. Civil rights violations — including workplace discrimination, refusal of service, being barred
from transportation, and housing-related discrimination — account for 11.3 percent of total incidents.
Asian Americans also reported being coughed at or spat upon — 8.2 percent — or being subjected to online bullying.
More than 62 percent of attacks were against women; many were on the street or in other public places.
Kulkarni and Stop AAPI Hate co-founders Cynthia Choi and Russell Jeung were named this year to Time magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential People.”