The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that hate crimes against Black and Asian communities within the U.S. rose sharply amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the FBI witnessed a 70% increase in hate crimes targeting AAPI communities in the U.S. During that same time period, the FBI recorded 2,755 hate crimes targeting Black communities, a 70% increase from the year prior. In comparison, the U.S. only recorded a 6% increase in hate crimes overall. With that said, the figures presented by the FBI do “not account for the many hate crimes that go unreported.”
“These hate crimes and other bias-related incidents instill fear across entire communities and undermine the principles upon which our democracy stands,” U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland told CNBC.
“All people in this country should be able to live without fear of being attacked or harassed because of where they are from, what they look like, whom they love or how they worship.”
As hate crimes rise in the United States, President Joe Biden has signed the COVID-19 hate crimes act. With overwhelming support from Congress and the White House, the law calls on the Department of Justice to expedite the review of hate crimes.
"My message to all of those who are hurting is we see you. The Congress said we see you. And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias," Biden said at the time the bill was signed, according to NBC News.
While hate crimes against Black communities rose in 2020, COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act primarily focused on the rise in hate crimes against AAPI communities. Meanwhile, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act and the Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States have largely been pushed aside in recent months.
"The unspoken message is that Asian American lives matter more than Black lives, and that the U.S government cares more about Asian Americans than it does about Black people," Asian American studies professor Claire Kim wrote in July.
"The U.S. government will act decisively to protect Asian Americans but drags its feet on protecting Black Americans—even in the face of domestic and international pressure to do so, and even though racial violence against Black people is both more frequent and more murderous than racial violence against Asian Americans."