Speed Reads

AAPI violence

Spike in violence against Asian Americans has 'stoked fear and paranoia'

The COVID-19 pandemic launched a wave of harassment and attacks on Asian Americans last year, but experts say it's escalating even further recently.

The New York Times reports "the number of hate crimes with Asian-American victims reported to the New York Police Department jumped to 28 in 2020, from just three the previous year, though activists and police officials say many additional incidents were not classified as hate crimes or went unreported." As Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, described, the attacks have "stoked a lot of fear and paranoia. People are not leaving their homes." On Thursday night, an Asian man in New York City was stabbed and taken to the hospital in critical condition. The case is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Meanwhile, Xi'an Famous Foods, a group of popular Chinese restaurants in New York, tells the Times restaurant locations close early now to help employees get home safely.

Across the country in Orange County, California, The Washington Post reports a neighborhood has had to rally together to protect an Asian American family from repeated harassment. "There's been escalating harassment and rhetoric" for Asian families in recent months, Priscilla Huang, co-founder of Asian Americans in Action, tells the Post.

Many point to former President Donald Trump's insistent use of "the Chinese virus" as one thing that has fueled racist attacks. While President Biden has decried the phrase and denounced any attacks, critics say his executive action to bar federal use of "inflammatory and xenophobic" language doesn't go far enough, arguing federal hate crime tracking needs to be expanded. In a new statement on Friday, the Department of Justice said "hate crimes cannot be tolerated," and said it had in recent months "trained hundreds of federal prosecutors and law enforcement officers to identify, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes." Watch CBS News' report on the spike in violence below. Summer Meza