May 1, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Asian Americans fear hate crimes are rising

Data: Savanta Research. Chart: Axios Visuals

While most Americans overall think hate crimes against Asian Americans are going down, Asian Americans disagree: 1 in 3 reported being the subject of hate this past year, a new survey finds.

Why it matters: Four years after the pandemic when the nation saw surges in anti-Asian hate, Asian Americans still feel they are targets despite anti-hate campaigns and assurance from elected officials.

By the numbers: Americans in the survey believe hate has increased the most toward Black Americans (42%), followed by Asian Americans (33%) or Hispanic Americans (25%), according to the STAATUS Index (Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S.).

  • In stark contrast, 61% of Asian Americans feel that hate toward them has increased, the study showed.
  • The percentage is higher for Black Americans (73%) and lower for Latinos (41%).

Zoom In: 41% of Asian Americans think they are likely to be the victim of a physical attack in the next five years because of their race, ethnicity, or religion, the survey found.

  • Only 38% of Asian Americans completely agree they belong in the U.S., and just 18% completely agree they are accepted in the U.S. for their racial identity, the survey found.
  • 59% of Asian Americans think it is at least somewhat likely that they will be a victim of discrimination in the next five years.

Between the lines: Rising antisemitism, anti-Arab American and anti-Muslim incidents have dominated the news since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel, taking the focus off hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Case in point: In another survey released by TAAF in March, 1 in 5 Asian American adults in New York City reported being physically assaulted in the past 12 months, according to a representative sample of 1,000 Asian American adults 16 and older.

What they're saying: "It's not a competition of who gets attacked the most," Norman Chen, CEO of The Asian American Foundation and co-founder of the STAATUS report, tells Axios.

  • "I think relative to other forms of hate, the percentage of mind-share that Asian Americans are getting is lower because there are so many other different forms of hate in our society."

Stunning stat: In the past year, almost 1 out of 3 Asian Americans say they've been called a racial or ethnic slur or been physically threatened with violence, because of their race, ethnicity or religion.

  • The number is higher for some subgroups, like Asian Americans of Southeast Asian descent, who reported higher incidents of slurs, other verbal harassment, and threats of physical assault.
  • Almost half of Black Americans in the survey and nearly 40 percent of Latinos also report being called a slur.

Context: Experts believe hate against Asian Americans persists because of ignorance about Asian American history.

  • Most Americans (52%) say they can't think of a famous Asian American.
  • When they do, they name Jackie Chan (who is not American), Bruce Lee (who died more than 50 years ago) or Kamala Harris (just 2%).

Methodology: This survey was conducted from Jan. 30 to March 13, 2024, by Savanta Research. It is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 6,272 U.S.-based respondents, aged 16 and above, conducted through an online panel.

  • The margin of sampling error is +/-1.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.
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