Story at a glance

  • Close to one-third of Asian adults in the U.S. say they are fearful of potential attacks amid a surge of violence and verbal assaults against the community.
  • A Pew research survey found 32 percent of Asian adults “have feared someone might threaten or physically attack them.”
  • Among Asian adults who see increased violence, 20 percent cite former President Trump as the reason.

Close to one-third of Asian adults in the U.S. say they are fearful of potential attacks amid a surge of violence and verbal assaults. 

A Pew Research survey found 32 percent of Asian adults “have feared someone might threaten or physically attack them,” which exceeds the percentage Black, Hispanic or white adults who expressed the same worry. But both Black and Asian adults nearly equally reported they have experienced discrimination since the beginning of the pandemic.  

More than 80 percent of Asian adults said that violence against their community is increasing.

Among Asian adults who see increased violence, 20 percent cite former President Trump as the reason. Racism and the coronavirus pandemic followed the former president, with 16 and 12 percent, respectively. 

“Four years of Trump has normalized racism and bullying. His continual example of blaming Asians for the coronavirus is allowing people to openly discriminate against Asian[s],” one respondent told Pew.


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An analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found that hate crimes against Asians rose by nearly 150 percent in 2020, while hate crimes overall dropped by 7 percent.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and director of demographic data and policy research nonprofit AAPI Data, told NBC in March that Trump was not the sole reason for the increase in violence and hateful rhetoric against Asians. But Ramakrishnan said the former president’s influence played “an outsized role in terms of shaping the narrative.” 

“They don't call it a bully pulpit for nothing, and especially Trump, the way he frequently used Twitter as well as press conferences and off-the-cuff remarks to campaign rallies to frame the narrative in a particular way, it likely played a role,” Ramakrishnan told the outlet. 

An earlier Pew survey found that 71 percent of all U.S. adults see “a lot or some discrimination against Asian people,” and a separate survey found Asian Americans were not optimistic they would “gain influence” in Washington during the Biden presidency. 

The nation’s Asian population recorded the fastest growth rate of any ethnic minority in the U.S. for nearly two decades, according to Pew. 

Pew Research surveyed 5,109 U.S. adults, including 352 Asian adults, from April 5 to 11.


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Published on Apr 22, 2021