CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — From Oakland to San Francisco and all the way to New York, Asian Americans are reporting more hate crimes against them in the United States.
Dr. Russell Jeung, a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, says his family has experienced recent attacks as well.
“My wife was running on a trail and some just actually blocked her way and coughed deliberately into her face,” he said.
Jeung is a co-founder of STOP AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Hate. His group tracks reports of hate crime in all 50 states. He says since March last year the group has logged more than 3,000 incidents reported.
He believes hate speech and derogatory terms like “China virus “ and “Kung flu” have led to the hate attacks that many are seeing today.
“As that term became commonplace, people made the automatic assumption that the virus is Chinese and if we see Chinese people they’re a threat as the disease carriers,” said Jeung. “And when they feel threatened they go into fight or flight mode. They begin to attack us or they shun us, and that’s what we saw time and time again.”
John Yang is the Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. He says, although we are seeing these attacks now, racism against Asians has been around for years.
“Lastly, with respect to prevention is making sure that people understand that Asian Americans are part of America … that we aren’t seen as this perpetual foreigner.”
The NYPD has reported 28 crimes against Asian Americans in 2020. That’s up from just three in 2019.
Now, advocates are offering a response.
“Here our organization offers what’s called bystander intervention training,” said Yang. “So what that is, it allows people — if they see an act of hate — to respond to it. Now certainly we don’t want people to be a superhero and jump in and start a fight or anything like that but there are certainly a lot of small techniques that people can take to deescalate the situation.”
Both programs are offering training on standing against racism and resources to victims.