- Whenever there is a crisis, especially a nationwide or global one, people will look for scapegoats.
- Hate crimes were common after 911, after the Twin Towers fell.
- Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants who live in the United States have been facing verbal harassments, physical attacks, and denial of services these past few months.
- In April police reported 14 hate crimes related to COVID-19. resulting in 11 arrests.
- Children should understand that bullying and racism are not acceptable.
Whenever there is a crisis, especially a nationwide or global one, people will look for scapegoats. It is no surprise that there has been an increase in hate crimes since the coronavirus pandemic started, and innocent victims are feeling the brunt of it.
Hate crimes were common after 911 after the Twin Towers fell. Anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States were at an all-time high, with FBI statistics showing that violent acts against Muslims had increased dramatically after 2001, from 28 to 481 incidents. This is just one example of the countless hate crimes that are a part of world history. People have been unjustly accused and punished for events that they did not cause to happen.
COVID-19 Related Hate Crimes
Asian Americans and Asian immigrants who live in the United States have been facing verbal harassment, physical attacks, and denial of services these past few months This is especially unjust since so many are working on the front lines, including medical workers who treat COVID-19 patients. Forbes reported that 17% of physicians and almost 10%t of nurses are of Asian descent. They are also at the forefront of the efforts to find a successful vaccine.
Reported hate crimes are listed on the Anti-Defamation League’s website; here are some of the most concerning.
- Los Angeles, CA: On February 13, a 16-year-old student of Asian descent was physically assaulted by his classmates.
- San Francisco, CA: On February 22, an elderly Asian man was physically assaulted while he was collecting recyclables. This was filmed and shared on social media, and an arrest was later made.
- Louisville, CO: In mid-March, the Union Jack Liquor company changed the wording on their marquee to “Firestone $14.88 Thanks China.” The 14/88 number combination contains to white supremacist numeric hate symbols.
- Edison, NJ: On April 4, a group surrounded an Asian woman, attacking her with racial slurs. They then punched the back of her head.
- San Luis Obispo, CA: On May 14, a Cal Poly Chinese Student Association's Zoom meeting was disrupted when unknown participants drew swastikas and blamed the pandemic on people of Chinese descent.
- In Texas, two children (two and six years old) were both stabbed at a Sam’s Club in Texas. The person who allegedly did this told police that he thought the family was Chinese and that they were spreading COVID-19.
The Big Apple is no stranger to hate crimes, and biased attacks against Asian Americans have risen here as well. In April police reported 14 hate crimes related to COVID-19. resulting in 11 arrests. One Asian American woman was hit on the head with an umbrella while riding a city bus; on April 5, a man poured acid on an Asian American woman while she was taking out the trash in Brooklyn. Elected officials have also been harassed; Assemblyman Ron Kim said that he and his staff “suffered many racist comments.”
People who commit hate crimes are usually misinformed about reality, so sharing the right information may help stop some of these crimes. CNN writer Emily Liu offered some helpful suggestions:
- The term “China Virus” should not be used; COVID-19 or coronavirus is correct. Mentioning China at all when referring to the pandemic should be avoided.
- Jokes and comments about China or Asian people should not be posted or shared on social media. Even if done as off-handed remarks, they can have unforeseen, negative consequences for others.
- Children – including older ones – should understand that bullying and racism are not acceptable.
- Business leaders, school leaders, and elected officials should be told to denounce racism. Last March, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy denounced discrimination against Asian communities. "There is a special place in Hell" for people committing hate crimes in connection with the coronavirus.