A person holds a sign during the "Asian Solidarity March" rally against anti-Asian hate in response to recent anti-Asian crime on March 18, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. - The shooting rampage in Atlanta by a 21-year-old white man that left six women of Asian origin dead has laid bare the fears of an Asian-American community on edge over a spike in hate crimes because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)
KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly half of Asian Americans have experienced at least one racist incident, per a new survey

It's been just over a month since a 21-year-old white man walked into a series of Atlanta-area spas and killed eight people, the majority of them Asian women, in the deadliest anti-Asian hate crime in recent memory.

Since then, the rising tide of targeted violence against Asian communities — in no small part fueled by former President Donald Trump's toxic insistence on blaming China for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — has reached alarming new heights, with instances of sporadic anti-Asian hate serving as an appalling reminder of the malignant discrimination felt by many of Asian descent in the United States.

On Thursday, a new study from the Pew Research Center confirmed a growing fear within the Asian community, with nearly one-third of Asian American adults claiming they've feared physical attack, and the overwhelming majority claiming that violence against Asian Americans is undeniably on the rise.

While more than half the 5,109 U.S. adults polled by Pew confirmed their belief that violence against the Asian American community is increasing, that number skyrocketed to 81% among Asian Americans themselves. White respondents were the least likely to agree that violence against Asian Americans was increasing, at just 53% — slightly below the overall average of 56%.

Nearly half of Asian American respondents to Pew's poll also claimed they'd experienced at least one of five specific forms of discrimination, such as threats of violence, racial or ethnic slurs and jokes, and COVID-related comments.

All told, one-fifth of Asian respondents placed the blame for the heightened anti-Asian sentiment squarely on Trump, with one poll participant telling Pew that "four years of Trump has normalized racism and bullying. His continual example of blaming Asians for the coronavirus is allowing people to openly discriminate against Asian[s]."

Another respondent highlighted the paradoxical irony of anti-Asian sentiment within the U.S., lamenting that "Asians are not accepted as people of color as they are seen as the model minority, but also are seen as foreign because they are not white."

Crucially, the poll — conducted between April 5-11 — was conducted in English, and utilized a relatively limited sample size of Asian American participants, making it impossible for Pew to accurately slice responses from the Asian American community by age, gender, and other democratic factors. Still, Pew explained, "Despite this limitation, it is important to report the views of Asian Americans on the topics in this study."