Since the coronoavirus pandemic began, Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have endured a spike in hate crimes, with elderly people attacked on the street and an Atlanta gunman killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, Peter K. Enns, professor of government and Katherine Zaslavsky, graduate student in sociology, write in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Through public opinion polls, they found some evidence that Americans have become more aware of anti-Asian bias – but not in expected ways.
“Have the events of the last year affected Americans’ awareness of anti-Asian bias fueled by the pandemic?” Enns, Zaslavsky and co-authors write in the piece. “Not as much as we might expect. Our research found that awareness of anti-Asian bias actually declined between June and October 2020, and only returned to previous levels in late March 2021. This awareness varied by racial and ethnic group, with members of the Asian community particularly attuned to the rising threat of anti-Asian bias related to the pandemic, and White respondents much less aware.”