US President Donald Trump, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, holds a press conference on China on May 29, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Hate crimes against Asian-Americans have reached an “alarming level” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, United Nations officials said.
In a report made public this week, UN officials expressed “serious concern over the rising wave of racist and xenophobic attacks,” whey they said that President Trump is “seemingly legitimizing.”
Asian-American groups have asked public officials such as Trump to refrain from using terms such as “China virus” to refer to COVID-19.
“Our data and evidence of the real-life stories confirm that Asian-Americans are facing increasing racist and xenophobic attacks, catalyzed by rhetoric from the president and other government leadership,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council.
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Hate crimes against Asian-Americans have reached an “alarming level” across the United States, in part because President Donald Trump appears to validate the perpetrators’ bigotry, according to a report by United Nations officials made public this week.
Citing more than 1,800 racist incidents against Asian Americans from March to May 2020, the report — signed by the UN’s special rapporteurs on racism and migrant rights, as well as the head of the international body’s working group on discrimination against women — expresses “serious concern over the rising wave of racist and xenophobic attacks,” particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
US authorities, it said, have “utterly failed to take the steps required to detect, monitor, and prevent racist and xenophobic incidents,” resulting in a “state of impunity” for hateful chauvinists.
In April, Senate Democrats sent a letter to Trump noting guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising against terms, such as “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus,” that “exacerbate prejudice and discrimination in ways that place lives at risk of violence.”
Trump has disregarded that advice, telling Fox News just this past Sunday that he had “beat this crazy horrible China virus.”
Asian-Americans, in turn, have reported ever more incidents of bigotry. Between March and August 2020, there were more such incidents — over 2,500 — than at the start of the pandemic, according to researchers at Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition formed to combat racism during the pandemic.
In one reported incident, a Japanese-American woman walking in Los Angeles, California, with her two-year-old son said a white man rolled down his window and said, “Tell your kid when he grows up that China did this all.” On the other side of the country, at a grocery store outside Scranton, Pennsylvania, a man yelled, “This pandemic wouldn’t have happened if you stayed in your country where you belong,” punctuated with a racial slur.
“We are further concerned by the documented increase in hate and misogynist speech, including incitement to hatred and racial discrimination in public places and online, and the contribution of the President of the United States in seemingly legitimizing these violations,” the report said.
Previous research has suggested there is a link between the president’s rhetoric and the skyrocketing incidence of hate crimes that has accompanied his presidency.
In 2017, for example, researchers at Tufts University found that, among test subjects, “exposure to Trump’s prejudiced statements made people more likely to write offensive things.”
“Our data and evidence of the real-life stories confirm that Asian-Americans are facing increasing racist and xenophobic attacks, catalyzed by rhetoric from the president and other government leadership,” Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, and a leader of Stop AAPI Hate, said in a statement on Wednesday.
In September, House Democrats passed a resolution calling on public officials to condemn anti-Asian racism and refrain from using terms such as “Chinese virus” and “Kung flu.” But Republicans have resisted such pleas. Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio, a close Trump ally, dismissed the resolution as “just another opportunity to attack the president,” while Rep. Andy Biggs, of Arizona, deemed it “woke culture on steroids.“
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