Chinese Americans are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States. There are now 5.5 million people of Chinese origin in the U.S., according to the New York-based non-profit organization Committee of 100.
New research by that group and Columbia University reveals racism against Chinese Americans remains prevalent years after a surge of anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hexiao Wang said she’s proud to hold onto her Chinese roots. Wang, who’s from Northern China, has been living in the U.S. for 12 years, and in addition to taking annual trips back to China, she stays connected to Chinese culture while in the U.S.
What You Need To Know
- Columbia University and Committee of 100 researchers found that around 75% of Chinese Americans have experienced some form of racial discrimination in the last year
- And 55% of the survey respondents said they worry about their safety when it comes to hate crimes or harassment
- Hexiao Wang, who moved from Northern China to the U.S. 12 years ago, says she moved from New York City to the Hudson Valley because of safety concerns
Wang was living in New York City until recently moving to the Hudson Valley during the pandemic because of safety concerns.
“I felt like people were staring at me, and sometimes they would say really demeaningful words,” Wang said. “And there’s this lady, she elbowed me on the subway for no reason, and I asked her why, before I accuse her with anything, and she just cursed me.”
Wang said she’s grateful to live in upstate New York, where she feels safer and accepted.
“Even though there’s less Asian people here, there’s no Chinatown, there’s no Koreatown, but people are very respectful and I just feel lot more welcomed,” she said.
In the last year, however, Wang has experienced racism while visiting New York City. She says she’s become a lot stronger mentally dealing with what she describes as hate-based incidents based on the way that she looks.
Wang isn’t alone. The Committee of 100 Columbia survey took a pulse on how Chinese Americans feel in American society and found that nearly three out of every four Chinese Americans have experienced some form of racial discrimination in the last 12 months. And more than half — 55% — said they worry about their safety when it comes to hate crimes or harassment, with nearly 10% of respondents saying they were physically assaulted or threatened with violence in the last year.
Wang worries such racial hostility may be taking a toll on the mental health of Chinese Americans. She hopes people will instead lead with kindness and acceptance as she holds steadfast to who she is on her American journey.