Anti-Asian hate crime numbers fell by 33% from 2021 to 2022, indicating the first decrease in anti-Asian hate since the start of the pandemic, according to recently released FBI crime statistics. However, anti-Asian hate crime figures remain firmly above pre-pandemic numbers, with 2022 recording more than 200% the amount of anti-Asian hate crimes that occurred in 2019.
During the peak of the pandemic, almost one in five anti-Asian hate incidents involved language that blamed Asians and Asian Americans for COVID-19, while many others might have been fueled by misplaced concerns of COVID-19. This rhetoric was reinforced and often encouraged by politicians, who, between March 2021 and 2022, used racist and inflammatory language in 10% of their tweets.
Although the national state of emergency for COVID-19 has ended, anti-Asian hate persists. Community reporting sites such as Stand Against Hatred and Stop AAPI Hate are still receiving submissions detailing incidents of anti-Asian hate and harassment, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is concerned about the potential effects of politicians vilifying China in the 2024 election cycle on the Asian American community as a whole.
Louise Liu of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC wrote, “Already we have seen politicians across party lines using anti-China rhetoric, and with the U.S.’s relationship with China being a central topic for debate, it can have dire consequences for the Asian American community who have long battled the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype, regardless of language ability, national origin, or citizenship status.”
Additionally, hate crimes are notoriously underreported, with Asian Americans being the racial group least likely to report hate crimes to law enforcement. Hesitance to report can be attributed to a variety of factors, including but not limited to language barriers, discomfort with law enforcement, or resignation to the status quo.