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Making Sense of the Rise in Anti-Asian American Hate Crimes and Violence

By: Adam Beam 3/7/21

Photo Courtesy: AP Photo/Steven Senne


In the age of COVID-19, a startling new statistic is continuing to rise, and has become an ever worst epidemic in major cities across the country. There has been a startling rise in anti-Asian American hate crimes in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Boston just to name a few.


In a study conducted by the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, it shows that between 2019 and 2020, following the start of the pandemic, some cities saw a percentage rise of over 100%. This study also revealed that in 2020, there were 122 incidents of these crimes in 16 of the most populous cities, with a total increase of 150% from the previous year.


Many Asian American rights advocates connect the rise in continuous attacks due to the constant blame and finger pointing by the former Trump administration, who repeatedly blamed China for the disease. Times when Former President Trump would refer to disease with nicknames like the "Chinavirus" and "Kung Flu". As Chris Kwok of the Asian American Bar Association of New York said “I think the political leadership under Trump really put a target on the backs of people perceived to be Chinese. It’s Sinophobia.” Stop AAPI Hate recorded more than 2,800 incidents targeting Asian Americans between March and December of 2020, 90% verbal abuse while the other 10% was physical assaults.


The most recent incident being 23 year old Salman Muflihi, who was arrested last week after stabbing a 36 year old Asian Man in New York. While he was charged with a count of attempted murder and several other charges, none of them were hate crime related. City resident Will Lex Ham said many of his family live in fear and anxiety, saying "We're just tired. We're tired of being scapegoated for many of the problems of the pandemic. We're tired of being ignored.” While the rise in crime is startling there has also been an almost equal rise in rallies and support for protecting Asian Americans from further violence.

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