Mar 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Poll: 1 out of 4 Asian Americans has experienced a hate incident

Data: Survey Monkey and AAPI Data; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

One in four Asian Americans has experienced a hate incident, while more than two-thirds have been asked "where they're really from," a poll from Survey Monkey and AAPI Data published Tuesday has found.

The big picture: Data about hate crimes is often incomplete, but the Atlanta spa killings of eight people, six of whom were Asian, has provided an intense focus on the issue.

  • The poll asked English-speaking adults if they ever had been a victim of a hate crime, verbally or physically abused or experienced property damage specifically because of race or ethnicity.
  • Respondents were asked if that happened before the pandemic, last year or this year.
"It seems like there is something about 2021, where Black folks, Latinos and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, there’s not a statistically significant difference when it comes to experiencing hate experiences. But it’s not to say that we’re all experiencing racism the same way."
— AAPI director Karthick Ramakrishnan

Of note: The myth of the "perpetual foreigner" remains as strong for Asian American and Pacific Islanders as it has for Latinos, with 64%of Asian Americans encountering questions that assumed they were not American.

  • People were also highly likely to ask whether they spoke English (45%) or to "Americanize" their names (20%).
  • In contrast, Black respondents were more likely to report that people acted if they were afraid of them (45%) or if they thought they were being dishonest (47%).

For the record: So far this year, 10 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islanders report experiencing hate incidents, compared to six percent of Americans overall.

  • 27% of Asian Americans and 24% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders have ever been a victim of a hate crime, higher than the national average of 22%
  • 12% of Asian Americans and 10% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders experienced a hate crime or hate incident in 2020 (national average 8%)

Yes, but: The survey was conducted in English, which researchers noted not just “biases the sample” towards U.S. born and dominant English-speakers, when a majority of the sample reported speaking a language other than English in their homes, but also then means the overall incidents are likely to be higher.

The bottom line: "What I find important about this survey is it shows racism affects all of us, but it affects different communities in different ways, and you have to be attentive to all of it," said Ramakrishnan, who also teaches public policy at University of California Riverside.

Methodology: SurveyMonkey conducted the poll online from March 18-26, with 16,336 adult U.S. residents. The margin of error is +/- 1.5 percentage points for the full sample and +/- 3.5 percentage points for the Asian American or Pacific Islander subgroup.

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