The Rise in Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans


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Brooke Kruger, Opinion Writer

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked across the country in the last year, with some states skyrocketing into the triple-digit percentages. The FBI defines hate crimes as “crimes in which the perpetrators acted based on biased against the victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin”. Since 2009, crimes based on biases of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and gender, have been added to the description of a hate crime.  


The surge in hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community started shortly after the outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States when former President Trump began scapegoating Chinese people. The coronavirus that negatively changed the lives of the entire population, was commonly referred to as the “Chinese virus” or the “Kung Flu” by the previous president. Mabel Menard, president of OAC Chicago, a non-profit organization that advocates for civil rights of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, explained that “It gave a lot of people permission (to act on) their prejudice,”.  

Chris Kwok, a board member for the Asian American Bar Association of New York thinks that “the political leadership under Trump really put a target on the backs of people perceived to be Chinese. It’s Sinophobia”. New York is home to a population of over 8 million people who identify as Asian American or Pacific Islanders and saw an increase of hate crimes up to 833%. Other cities that experienced hate crime increases into triple-digit percentages include Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Boston.  


The attacks are seemingly targeting the elderly individuals of the community. Among these crimes: a series of videos can be found of a man in Oakland’s Chinatown assaulting a 91-year-old man, a 60-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman. On January 28th, the brutal assault of Vicha Ratanapakdee, 84, was caught on video sparked outrage. The video of Ratanapakdee went viral as the online community witnessed him being shoved violently to the ground by an unprovoked attacker. He died days later. The quick circulation of the video is what raised instant awareness of the issue beyond the state of California. President Joe Biden has since signed an executive order directing federal agencies to combat corona-fueled harassment.  


Reporting Sites include the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, Communities Against Hate, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, OCA Asian American Advocates, and South Asian American Leading Together.  


Brooke Kruger is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]