- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many Asian and Black Americans say they have dealt with ethnic and racial discrimination, according to Pew Research Center survey results released July 1. Since the new coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, and spread in the U.S., many Asian and Black Americans feared physical attacks, which aligns with reports of incidents of discrimination, Pew's research showed. Many Black men and women (42%) wearing a mask or a face covering in public for protection against COVID-19 said they worry that others might find them suspicious because of their race, the survey found.
- More than a third of Asian and Black American adults surveyed said that since the beginning of the pandemic, someone has acted uncomfortable around. In comparison, 27% of Hispanic adults and 13% of white adults surveyed said they had the same experience. Almost a third of Asian Americans said they have endured slurs or jokes about their race or ethnicity, compared to 21% of Black adults, 15% of Hispanic adults and 8% of white adults.
- Asian Americans and Black Americans surveyed were more likely to say they feared someone might threaten or physically attack them than Hispanic or white respondents. And more than a third of all U.S. adults surveyed said that since the pandemic, it's more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views about people who are Asian; 30% said it has become more common for people to express these views toward Black people. Pew's survey of 9,654 U.S. adults was conducted June 4-10, 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that fear and anxiety amid the pandemic could lead to racial discrimination.
"Certain racial and ethnic minority groups, including Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Black or African Americans,"and also "people who tested positive for COVID-19, have recovered from being sick with COVID-19," may experience stigma during the pandemic, according to CDC's website.
In March, when many companies began to pivot to telework, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Janet Dhillon urged employers to be mindful of intimidation, harassment or discrimination in the workplace against Asian Americans to prevent or correct the behavior. "Amidst the challenges we are all facing during these uncertain times, the anti-discrimination laws [EEOC] enforces are as vital as ever," Dhillon said in a statement.
In May, as the pandemic continued, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by a former Minneapolis police officer, and national protests for racial justice followed. The EEOC issued a resolution June 9 to condemn "the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others." The agency vowed to "redouble" its "efforts to address institutionalized racism, advance justice and foster equality of opportunity in the workplace," according to the resolution.
At the time Pew's survey was conducted, Americans were simultaneously following news about the killing of Floyd and news related to the pandemic, according to the organization. Therefore, the survey also asked about expressions of support. About half of Black adults (51%) said someone has expressed support for them because of their race or ethnicity during this period, more than any other racial group.
"In particular, younger Black adults say they received this support (55% vs. 44% among those ages 50 and older)," according to Pew.