Nearly 2,500 cases of verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans were reported between March 19 and July 22 to a tracking project called Stop AAPI Hate, a group representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In San Francisco, an Asian American bus driver was assaulted by passengers after an argument over proper mask wearing. A woman reported getting verbally assaulted and a drink thrown at her by a passenger who told her and her brother to “go back to their country.” Another man reported being shoved on the stairs, trampled and kicked in the head.
Stop AAPI Hate is a collaboration among several organizations, Chinese for Affirmative Action, A3PCON and San Francisco State University’s department of Asian American Studies. These groups developed the tracking initiative as anti-Asian rhetoric and hateful attacks began to rise during the coronavirus pandemic. The attacks haven’t stopped.
Dr. Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, has called on local, state and federal governments to reject racist rhetoric and commit to anti-racist messaging. He and other advocates have also said residents can and should confront hateful incidents rather than just stand by.
“My son and I when we were shopping, just before shelter-in-place but people were still told to physical distance. We went in a cashier line and we were six feet away. But another customer looked at us and clearly and deliberately moved even farther away to avoid us. At the same time at the store there was another line: An hour-long wait for ammunition. So when you juxtapose the two situations, people see us as threats and people are arming themselves against an invisible threat. But Asians are perceived as a threat.”— Dr. Russell Jeung
A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco.