Trump spurs racism toward Asian Americans is a headline we thought we’d never write. No one could imagine a US President seeding racial discrimination. But here we are.
According to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center which was founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department, Asian Americans in California have self-reported 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment in the last three months, including 81 incidents of assault and 64 potential civil rights violations. Thes come on the heels of the President referring to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus”, “China virus “or even the “Kung-Flu”.
Discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans in California has drawn national attention recently after a series of videos in Torrance, California featured a woman using graphic racist language against Asian Americans. The videos have received millions of views, and reflect just a handful of the incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate in California. Anti-Asian American harassment has also been further stoked by President Trump’s repeated use of the term “Kung Flu” in recent rallies, and as recently as last night, comments on Twitter scapegoating China for the United States’ devastating failure to control the coronavirus.
“Racist demagoguery matched with anti-immigrant policies have always been used to deny Asian Americans full social and political rights,” said Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. “In California, we have to do more than condemn racist rhetoric — we must take bold action today to address attacks whether they happen in grocery stores, in the workplace or in the schoolyard.”
Stop AAPI Hate has been advocating since April for the state to establish a Racial Bias Strike Team to further investigate the widespread and growing problem of COVID-19-related hate against the Asian American community in California and determine the most effective policies to address this problem. Nonetheless, California’s state budget, voted on last Friday, excluded specific funding for initiatives advocated for by the Asian American community in California. Governor Newsom has left the millions of Asian Americans in California in the dark about what accountability and action they can expect.
“We have presented Governor Newsom with clear and effective tactics to combat discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. “Asian Americans need to see concrete actions and we’re here to work with the state to ensure that we can live free from racial discrimination and enjoy equal rights and access.”
“A man kicked my dog and told me to take your disease that’s ruining our country and go home,’” reported an Asian American in Santa Clara.
In San Francisco, an Asian American reported, “Someone threw a glass bottle at my friend while she was putting her baby in the car and yelled, ‘Go home, chink.’”
In Los Angeles, an Asian American reported, “Our Zoom feed was hacked by white supremacists who verbally attacked our members and viewers with racial slurs and anti-immigrant remarks. They also hacked into our Zoom chat typing the Nazi salute (Seig Heil) and pro-Trump messages.”
Last night, the Stop AAPI Hate coalition sent Governor Newsom a further letter recommending the establishment of a Racial Bias Strike Team comprised of key state agencies and departments that have jurisdiction over public education, implementing state and federal civil rights laws, overseeing workplace and employment discrimination, providing mental health services to vulnerable communities, and offering support to local Asian American-serving community-based organizations.
“The viral video of racism in Torrance is one example of hundreds. It’s the tip of the iceberg of anti-Asian American hate and discrimination,” said Russell Jeung, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. “Without government accountability, we risk COVID-related racism against Asian Americans becoming deeply entrenched, ultimately impacting the lives of millions of people in California and around the country.”
It’s sad to say but Trump spurs racism toward Asian Americans as a deliberate act of hate, leaving Asian Americans to grapple with issues of discrimination and violence as the COVID-19 Pandemic still rages across the US>