- President Biden in his prime-time address Thursday denounced attacks on Asian Americans.
- “It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop,” Biden said in the address.
- Research showed a 150% increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden in his Thursday address to the nation denounced a surge in attacks on Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the prime-time address marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 outbreak being declared a pandemic, Biden said that Asian Americans had been subjected to “vicious hate crimes” and been “attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated” during the pandemic.
“At this very moment, so many of them – our fellow Americans on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives – and still, still they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,” said Biden.
“It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”
-CBS News (@CBSNews) March 12, 2021
The remarks come after a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, this month found that while overall hate crimes had fallen 7% during the pandemic, those targeting Asian Americans had increased 150%.
It followed a report by the UN last October which found an “an alarming level” of racist violence and abuse against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
Former President Donald Trump has long been criticized for calling the coronavirus the “China virus” and “kung flu” in multiple public statements because the novel coronavirus was first found in China. The phrases were echoed by Republican politicians and administration officials.
E. Tendayi Achiume, one of the authors of the UN report, said the president had fostered an environment in which Asian Americans were being scapegoated for the pandemic.
“I think it’s absolutely the case that if you have the head of government speaking about groups in ways that stigmatizes them and associates them with the virus, it creates an environment where violence is more permissible and attacks are more permissible,” she told NBC News. “It really does legitimize those kinds of acts.”
After taking office, Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to combat the resurgence of xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.