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Survey Shows Anti-Asian Bias Rooted in "Perpetual Foreigner" Stereotype

One in ten Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders reported hate crimes and hate incidents in 2021, according to survey resultsreleased by AAPI Data and SurveyMonkey Tuesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, this rate which is higher than the national average is driven by a specific harmful stereotype.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, CEO and Co-Founder of AAPI Data, and U.C. Riverside professor says the survey found 64 percent of AAPI respondents have been asked where they are from with the assumption it’s not the U.S. Many also reported being treated like they don’t speak English and told they should Americanize or “whiten” their names.

“Part of what is likely driving this increase in hate incidents for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in particular is this presumed foreigner status,” said Ramakrishnan.

The survey was designed and distributed shortly after the Atlanta shooting that killed eight people, including six Asian American women. The incident is bringing new attention to anti-Asian bias in the U.S. which is reaching new highs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

AAPI Data Senior Researcher Janelle Wong, explained during the briefing, that all discrimination of communities of color has roots in white supremacy.

“One of the things the data show are that Asian Americans, Latinx, Black Americans, Pacific Islanders, all non-white groups, share a certain kind of experience of othering in the U.S., yet there are some really significant differences that I don’t think we can overlook,” said Wong.

For example, a majority of Latinx respondents to the survey said they are also assumed to be foreign, while Black Americans are not. Instead, they face the stereotype of being perceived as dangerous and dishonest.

The AAPI Data team says this survey is just the beginning of understanding how the experiences of the Asian American and the Pacific Islander community fit in with the much broader problem of racism in the U.S.