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Almost 11,000 hate incidents targeted Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders during pandemic

Most incidents reportedly occurred in places such as streets, businesses, parks and subways.
People hold signs during a rally in response to the killing of Christina Yuna Lee in New York's Chinatown neighborhood on Feb. 14, 2022.
People hold signs during a rally in response to the killing of Christina Yuna Lee in New York's Chinatown neighborhood on Feb. 14.Seth Wenig / AP file

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have reported nearly 11,000 hate incidents against them between March 2020 and December 2021 — spanning the pandemic, according to a report published last week by Stop AAPI Hate.

Data from the nonprofit group, which tracks self-reported hate and discrimination against AAPI communities across the United States, found verbal harassment made up the majority of these incidents. Physical assaults were the second-most reported, followed closely by deliberate avoidance of AAPIs.

“I was waiting for my train to arrive when a kid who was about 12-14 years old struck me on the face from behind and yelled, ‘China!’ at me,” one respondent reported from New York City. “A woman nearby watched the whole incident, yet did not step in or acknowledge what happened. She simply moved away.”

Nearly half of the hate incidents occurred in public spaces — mostly streets and businesses, but also on public transit and in public parks. Chinese Americans reported the most hate incidents out of all Asian ethnic groups, and women reported more than double the hate incidents than men did.

Research released last week by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum had revealed 74 percent of more than 2,400 AAPI women surveyed experienced racism or discrimination within the last 12 months.

“I want to emphasize that it is the women that are having more of the life-threatening type of dangerous encounters,” Sung Yeon Choimorrow, the forum’s executive director, told NBC News last week. “We’re being targeted because of the stereotypes about us, that we won’t fight back, that we’re submissive.”

Aside from verbal and physical abuse, reports to Stop AAPI Hate also described instances of being coughed at or spat on, as well as of facing discrimination in the workplace and finding their homes or community centers vandalized.

One person described being terminated after unsuccessfully seeking help from supervisors after experiencing racism from customers and patients at work.

“One day, an older woman was being racist towards me by telling my supervisor that she didn’t want me (because of my race) when I’ve never met or spoken to her before,” the person reported. “I told her to stop. She complained and I was fired for defending myself.”

While Stop AAPI Hate publicly reports the incidents it receives in efforts to advocate for effective solutions, the group does not report them directly to law enforcement.

“The vast majority of hate reported doesn’t technically involve crime,” cofounder Manjusha Kulkarni said in a statement to NBC News. “That’s why policing isn’t the solution to hate.”

In the report, Stop AAPI Hate recommended states invest in culturally competent and language-accessible programs to support victims of hate incidents, as well as community-based violence prevention programs to build solidarity, rather than division, among Asian Americans and other communities of color.

The organization said it is also supporting efforts to alleviate AAPI hate and discrimination through education.

“Education is one of the most effective tools against racism, and implicit bias is learned early,” the report said. “Asian American studies programs promote racial empathy and solidarity, while decreasing bullying and harassment in schools, helping AAPI students thrive.”