The majority of Asian Americans feel unsafe or unwelcome because of their race, according to two sets of recently released data from prominent advocacy groups. The surveys, conducted separately by the Asian American Foundation and Stop AAPI Hate, which both work to address prejudice and violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), show that many feel alienated in their communities, resulting in negative effects on mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Norman Chen, the chief executive of the Asian American Foundation, said that there is a continuing and alarming trend that the majority of Asian Americans do not feel safe or like they belong because of their race.

“Anti-Asian violence threatens our community and takes a toll in every part of our lives, from riding a public bus to attending school,” Chen said in a statement. “We can’t blame political rhetoric and the COVID-19 pandemic alone for anti-Asian sentiment. Historic stereotypes and prejudices towards our communities are persistent and deeply entrenched.”

Reports of attacks and discrimination against AAPI people surged with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with terms like “the China virus” feeding anti-AAPI sentiment. Accounts and video of attacks spread across the news or social media and left many people, particularly women and older people, feeling vulnerable and more hesitant to venture out.

Candice Cho, managing director of policy and counsel at AAPI Equity Alliance, notes that racial discrimination against Asians in the United States predates the pandemic. Even looking back at a 1992 report published by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Cho said not much has changed when it comes to what forms of discrimination AAPI people face.

“The way that AAPIs are treated in places like schools and workplaces, in businesses, when they’re looking for housing and when they’re asking the government for help — it’s like that report from more than 30 years ago was written today,” Cho said. “They face this unfair treatment because of who they are.”

Cho said the prevalence of discrimination today is staggering: More than 11,000 acts of hate against the AAPI community were reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks these incidents, since March 2020. In the coalition’s recent civil rights report, Cho said researchers honed in on acts of hate and discrimination that were also illegal. The report, released in May, draws on a survey of 1,331 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders conducted from November 30 to December 22, 2022, in partnership with research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. The margin of error is 3.89 percentage points.

Read the full article about Asian American and Pacific Islander communities by Jasmine Mithani and Mariel Padilla at The 19th.