Increase in hate crime and harassment targeted toward Asian Americans since the beginning of the pandemic
- Report by the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism: Anti-Asian hate crimes rose by 149% in 2020 while overall hate crimes dropped by 7%
- Report by Stop AAPI Hate
- 3,800 incidents were reported over the course of roughly a year during the pandemic (Roughly 503 incidents occurring in 2021 alone)
- 68.1% Verbal harassment
- 20.5% Shunning
- 11.1% physical assault
- 8.5% civil rights violation
- Asian women report hate incidents 2.3 times more than men.
- Underestimation due to lack of report
- Some attacks are not explicitly racially motivated (implicate bias)
Psychological impact of hate crimes, harassment, and racism
- Depression, general anxiety, and social anxiety
- Trouble eating and sleeping
- Feeling upset or vulnerable
- Avoiding places, feeling fearful or unsafe
- Feeling helpless and invisible
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Misuse of alcohol or other drugs
- Anger, or feeling the need to retaliate or start arguments
- Feeling a need to move or to hide
- Limiting social opportunities due to potential threats
- For youth who experience discrimination: higher incidence of chronic mental health concerns
- Race-based traumatic stress (RBTS): Emotional and mental reaction from experiencing discrimination, racism, hate crime based on racial bias.
- Individuals can develop racial trauma through encountering a racial incident that is sudden, uncontrollable and emotionally damaging.
- It can develop from
- Direct encounter of racism (hate crime, harassment, macroaggression, or hostile cultural attitude toward racial minority such as blaming Asian for COVID19). This is called a direct traumatic stressor.
- Witnessing other people who belong to your racial group experiencing an act of racism (including exposure through media and news). This is called a vicarious traumatic stressor.
- Intergenerational transmission (parents and grandparents experiences of racial trauma can affect children/ grandchildren’s trauma reaction).
- RBTS is associated with PTSD like symptoms: depression, anger, recurring thoughts of the racially traumatic event, headaches, chest pains, insomnia, hypervigilance, low-self-esteem, and mental and emotional distancing from the traumatic events
- It is NOT a mental disorder. It is a normal response to living in racially hostile environment and being exposed to racism (explicit, implicit, and macroaggression)
How to cope with racism and discrimination against the AAPI community
Utilizing social support
- Creating support network with people within your racial community
- Minimizing contact with potential racism and people who invalidate experience of racism.
- Have a chance to process emotion associated with current racial issues.
- Sharing racial experiences and thoughts about racial climate with people whom you can trust.
Creating optimally positive lifestyle for yourself
- Remember to engage in basic self-care through eating, sleeping and having some sense of routine.
- Develop racial pride by recognizing resilience in your own community
- Engage in activities that you find to be peaceful and relaxing.
- Find activities that comforts you and make you happy
- Find peace from religion and spirituality
- Limiting media exposure to news related to racism/ hate crime against AAPI
- Avoid maladaptive coping: denial, substance use, and self-destructive behaviors
Understanding your internal process
- Identify and name emotions that you experience within cultural context and political climate.
- Validate your emotion from exposure to racism even if others invalidate it.
- Establish your own position and perspective on current racial issues related to AAPI population.
- Recognize your power, strengths, and resilience.
Acknowledging cultural context
- Recognize external factors such as microaggression, cultural stereotypes and bias against AAPI, unfair treatment and political climate that contribute to your feelings and overall psychological concerns.
- Make conscious effort NOT to internalize negative social messages/ images toward your racial and cultural group.
- Acknowledge overt, covert, and unintentional form of racism in our society and develop clear understanding about how different form of racism affect us psychologically
- Educate yourself about history of your ethnic group in America and racism practiced against AAPI
- Figure out ways to express your racial concerns in constructive way.
- Develop functional coping skills for stress associated with racial issues
- Pay attention to opportunities for change and improvement
- Organize community to collectively voice issues with hate crime and harassment and to improve systemic racial issues
- Support AAPI organization
- Engage in positive activism
- Seek chances to talk about your experiences and perspectives on racial issues in a safe environment (individual counseling or support group can be helpful.
How to be a good ally for the AAPI population
- Seeking out knowledge about history of immigration and racism toward AAPI population
- Understand how racism, discrimination, racial biases, xenophobia, and stereotypes affect general well-being of AAPI community
- Intentionally reach out and cultivate friendship with AAPI population
- Acknowledge anti-Asian racism instead of dismissing, ignoring, or invalidating it.
- Providing AAPI colleagues and friends support by sharing your knowledge about current events and offering specific help to alleviate their stress.
- Take an action to address anti-Asian attitude and hate crime amid the COVID19 pandemic and advocate for racial justice
- Donate to AAPI organizations
- Make long term commitment to be anti-racist
- Report hate crime/ harassment if you witness it.
How to report hate crime/ harassment
UA reporting hotline for hate and bias: 205-348-BIAS (2427)
Asian American Advancing Justice
- Share something you’ve experienced or witnessed
- Translation for form made available in Chinese (traditional & simplified), Vietnamese, Korean
- Translation for form made available in Chinese (traditional & simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Tagalog, Khmer, and more
Here are some steps to keep in mind if you witness harassment.
Distract: interrupting the situation in order to stop harassment usually by engaging with the person targeted for the harassment instead of directly addressing the situation or talk about harassment. It can distract/ deescalate the situation.
Delegate: seek help from other people to address/ intervene the harassment situation. For example, you can call 911 or 311 to seek help
Document: Record the incident. It can be useful evidence, but you need to get permission from the person who was harassed before sharing the video with anyone. It is imperative to give a person targeted for harassment power and control over the situation since harassment is already a disempowering experience.
Delay: Checking on the person who was harassed after the fact. You can provide support and validate the targeted person by doing this.
Direct: Directly address harasser by naming their behavior. Need to be mindful about your safety
Articles & Books
Videos, Shows & Films
- Dear Asian Americans | Episode 98 w/ Liz Kleinrock | Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Educator
- AsianBossGirl | Episode 104 w/ Tammy Cho & Michelle Hanabusa, Co-founders of Hate is A Virus #StopAsianHate