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Social media is agog over a viral video that captured a blatant display of hatred from a Texan woman towards a group of Indian diners outside a Dallas restaurant. 

The racist tirade stunned the Indian diaspora into accepting the fact that they too are targets of hate. However this incident fits neatly into the escalating pattern of hate crimes that  AAPI Stop Hate has witnessed.

“A majority of incidents are traumatic and harmful, but not hate crimes,” said Indian American anti-racism activist Manjusha Kulkarni, Executive Director of AAPI Equity Alliance at an Ethnic News Media briefing on August 19th. “A large percentage of these incidents take place in public. Hate incidents reported by women make up 61.8% of all reports. Youth (0 to 17 years old) report 9.9% of incidents. Seniors (over 60) report 7.0% of incidents,”  

Verbal Harassment

Kulkarni is a co-founder of AAPI Stop Hate that targets discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US.

Verbal Harrasment continues to be the most common example of discrimination (source: Stop AAPI Hate)

Rising Hate Crime Against Asian Americans

Stop AAPI Hate has received over 10,905 reports of discrimination. Verbal harassment (63%) and physical assault (16.2%) form the top two hate crimes of total incidents reported.

There is no one profile of perpetrators and contrary to popular belief, Blacks do not represent  the majority of offenders. 

Anti-Asian hate crimes in California jumped 177% in 2021, rising for the third year in a row. Two years ago, about 8% of race-based hate crimes involved Asian Americans. In 2021, that number rose to 21%.

Stop AAPI Hate conducted a nationwide survey which found that one in five Asian Americans and one in five Pacific Islanders experienced a hate incident in 2020 or 2021.

In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of non-profits launched the Stop AAPI Hate coalition on March 19, 2020. They include AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University. The coalition tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Stop AAPI Hate serves as an “invaluable resource for the public to understand the realities of anti-Asian racism, and is also a major platform for finding community-based solutions to combat hate,” said Kulkarni.

AAPIs across communities experience hate (source: Stop AAPI Hate)

A Hate Crime VS A Hate Incident

The California Department of Justice released its annual report on hate crimes on 23rd August morning, documenting  1,763 reported hate crimes, up 33% from the previous year.

Becky L Monroe, Deputy Director of Strategic Approaches and External Affairs at the California Department of Civil Rights, explained the difference between hate incidents and  hate crimes, a definition that is followed nationwide.

Under California law, a hate crime is a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation; or because of the person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

Hate crimes may refer to violations of civil rights laws, such as employment and housing discrimination. 

A hate incident is a hostile expression or action that may be motivated by another person’s actual or perceived race, color, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender, including gender identity.

   (1) Incidents that are acts of hate that violate civil rights laws, and

   (2) Incidents that are acts of hate that may not violate the law but still cause significant harm in a community. 

Examples of hate incidents include name-calling, insults, displaying hate material on your own property, posting hate material that does not result in property damage, distribution of materials with hate messages in public places. They do not violate the law but are deeply harmful to communities and individuals

California Is Fighting Hate Crime

The California state legislature has just launched an “Stop the Hate” initiative to support nonprofits and ethnic media working to address the issue. 

The California Department of Civil Rights is also establishing an agency to fight hate crimes and provide protections for potential victims. Governor Newsom signed legislation establishing the first statewide Commission on the State of Hate. It will monitor and track hate crimes and recommend policy to the Governor, State Legislature, and State Agencies. 

Selected organizations with a demonstrated track record of anti-hate work with priority populations were invited to apply for larger funding awards. A complete list of grantees announced in partnership with CAPIAA and the California Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (APILC) can be found here. Grant funding has been made available over the next three years, from August 1, 2022, through July 31, 2025, to continue to support anti-hate efforts.

What Can You Do?

Members of the public can support anti-hate initiatives in several ways, added Monroe, by:

  • Reporting an incident or act of hate toward AAPIs on Stop AAPI Hate’s website.
  • Reading up on resources and safety tips provided on stopaapihate.org/resources
  • Supporting #NoPlaceforHateCA and other non-carceral solutions

The California Department of Civil Rights is launching California vs Hate which will serve as  a resource line and network to support people targeted for hate.

“We cannot discount something just because it does not break the law. It still causes deep harm in the community,” said Monroe.

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India Currents’ Stop The Hate campaign is made possible with funding from the California State Library (CSL) in partnership with the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (CAPIAA). The views expressed on this website and other materials produced by India Currents do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the CSL, CAPIAA or the California government.

Have you been a victim of hate crime? Please write to us: editor@indiacurrents.com.

Copyright indiacurrents.com. The story may not be published or reproduced without express written permission from publisher@indiacurrents.com.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Ritu Marwah

Ritu Marwah is an award-winning author ✍️ and a recognized Bay Area leader in the field of 🏛 art and literature. A California reporting and engagement fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center for Health...