The survey also found that the majority of Asian Americans support recent protests, police reform
The coronavirus pandemic has been the singular, collective constant of 2020.
The virus has been, not only an issue of public health and safety in a medical sense, but also in a cultural sense, dredging up familiar tones of anti-Asian, especially anti-Chinese, racism and xenophobia that blames the Asian community for the pandemic.
Then the recent uproar over-policing and systemic racism brought on by the high-profile killings of unarmed Black individuals came to the fore, broadening the scope of community discussions on the state of racial equality (or lack thereof) in America.
The Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE) — partnered with Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and Los Angeles Urban League — conducted a recent poll that sought to gauge the Asian Pacific American (APA) response (as well as those from other ethnic groups) to the COVID-19 situation in the United States as well as the ongoing conversations and proposals related to policing and systemic racism.
The two-part poll series comprises responses from 1,184 adults across California.
“These historic series of polls track the shifts in Californians’ attitudes towards some of our state’s most pressing issues, and we now have a more vivid picture of how communities of color are feeling in California,” said CAUSE Board Member and poll director Dan Schnur. “This is the first time that organizations representing these three communities have teamed up on a project like this one, and we’re honored that CAUSE was able to play such an instrumental role in bringing this coalition together.”
The poll, which is a comparative poll to one that was conducted in February, found that 86% of respondents were “worried about themselves or their immediate family contracting COVID-19,” and 74% of APAs in California believed that the worst of COVID-19 has yet to come to the Golden State.
If the spike in COVID-19 cases continues in California, 76% of APAs believe that the economy will continue to deteriorate and 77% believe that the government was reopening and lifting safer-at-home restrictions too quickly. (On the flip side, 16% were more concerned that the restrictions were being lifted too slowly.)
“In these difficult times, California’s Asian Pacific community can and should play a leadership role in taking on the state’s most pressing challenges and working together toward necessary solutions,” CAUSE Board Chair Charlie Woo said in a statement.
In regards to race relations, 44% of APAs would describe race relations in America as “excellent” or “good,” a 13-point decrease from February when 57% expressed that view.
Moreover, since the beginning of the pandemic, 50% of APAs feel or have felt personal discrimination from others, which is up from February’s 42%.
As for the overall issue of anti-Asian racism, 68% of APAs in California now recognize that Asians are and can be targets of racism.
“COVID-19 has ignited widespread discrimination and hate crimes towards Asian Americans, which has evidently affected their perception of race relations. Asian Americans have become more aware of the discrimination against their own communities, as well as against other communities of color,” said Woo. “The fact that more Californians [now] recognize Asian Pacific Americans don’t just fit in as model minorities, but also are discriminated against and face challenges too, shows huge progress.”
APAs also expressed awareness of discrimination towards other groups, with 77% believing that African Americans “frequently or sometimes” face racism; 70% believe the same for the Latino community.
In terms of anti-Black racism in policing — and the overall impact that police have on American society — 54% of APAs believe that the police’s use of brute, fatal force against unarmed Black individuals were examples of systemic racism, “whereas 31% believe these are isolated incidents,” the poll read.
A whopping 79% of APAs support police reform, but 33% of APAs prefer the disinvestment of police in favor of funding and allocating some police responsibilities to other government agencies.
In regards to the recent protests which brought together people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, 56% of APAs found that the protests have promoted racial unity and optimism for a more inclusive America. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)