Carolyn Jones and Ashley A. Smith
March 22, 2021
As violence against Asian Americans surges across the country, education leaders in California strongly condemned the racist attacks and underscored schools’ crucial roles in combating xenophobia and teaching tolerance.
While racism against Asian Americans has always existed, especially in California, the recent increase began a year ago, as former President Donald Trump falsely blamed the Covid-19 epidemic on China. In the past few weeks, Asian Americans have been attacked in Oakland, San Francisco and other cities, and last Tuesday, a man in Georgia killed eight people, six of them Asian women. Police are still investigating.
Since the shutdown a year ago, nearly 3,800 Asian Americans have reported being victims of racist physical or verbal attacks, according to Stop AAPI Hate, a group formed last year to draw awareness to the issue.
Other data signal a worsening situation. Anti-Asian hate crime increased in major cities from 2019 to 2020 while overall hate crime dropped, according to police reports collected by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.
A Pew Research Center survey in July 2020 found more anti-Asian and anti-Black sentiment than before the pandemic. Six in 10 Asian adults say it is more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views about people who are Asian than it was before the coronavirus outbreak compared to 4-in-10 white, Black and Hispanic adults. Forty-five percent of Black adults also said it was more common to hear racist comments about Blacks since the pandemic.
“The pandemic has brought a lot of pain and suffering for many, and, with it, conspiracy theories scapegoating the Asian community for the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of San Francisco Unified. “We have to stand together against violence perpetrated against any member of our community.”