A two-part series on The Virulent Hate Project. We speak with lead researcher Melissa May Borja, Ph.D., about the Virulent Hate Project, an interdisciplinary research initiative that studies anti-Asian racism and Asian American activism during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new report from the project focuses on the nature of anti-Asian racism reported by the news media in 2020. Forthcoming reports will analyze Asian American anti-racism activism and news media coverage.
Key findings from the new report include:
Of the 1,023 unique anti-Asian hate incidents analyzed, 66% (679 incidents) involved anti-Asian harassment and vandalism that targeted individuals or groups. Approximately 33% (344 incidents) involved stigmatizing and discriminatory statements, images, policies and proposals made by individuals or groups that reproduced anti-Asian stereotypes and harmed Asian Americans as a community.
Anti-Asian harassment affected Asian Americans of all ages, ethnic groups and genders, although the harassment was not experienced evenly across demographic groups. Women were the victim in 65% of anti-Asian harassment incidents, and Chinese Americans experienced nearly 58% of the harassment incidents reported in the news.
Available information suggests the perpetrators of anti-Asian hate incidents were predominantly male and disproportionately white. Among politicians who made stigmatizing statements and supported discriminatory policies and proposals, the primary perpetrators were white, male and affiliated with the Republican Party.
Incidents of anti-Asian harassment were reported in the news in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The majority (67%) of anti-Asian harassment incidents occurred in businesses, streets and public transit.
Anti-Asian hate incidents reported in the news peaked in March and April 2020, even as most Americans limited their visits to public places due to pandemic-related lockdown and shelter-in-place policies.