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March 19, 2021

Asian American Community Battles Surge in Hate Crimes Stirred from COVID-19

Ask students: What are some of the ways those interviewed describe life changing due to anti-asian hate crimes in their communities in the past year?


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Battling a Surge of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

Read the summary, and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video and transcript, click here

On Tues., March 16, eight people including six Asian women were killed by a gunman in Atlanta, Georgia. The shooting comes amid a wave of violence against Asian Americans, which has become worse during the COVID pandemic. A recent report found that hate crimes against Asian Americans in major U.S. cities surged by nearly 150 percent in 2020 — even as the number of overall hate crimes fell.

  • Many Asian Americans such as Kim Tran describe feeling greater fear this past year after many seemed to blame Asians and Asian Americans for the COVID pandemic.
  • Twenty-one-year-old Robert Aaron Long, now in custody and charged with murder and assault, has admitted to the shootings in Atlanta. Officials in Georgia who are investigating the case with the help of the FBI said he frequently visited massage parlors in the past.

Discussion Questions: Responding To Anti-Asian Sentiment

  • Who has been affected by the recent wave of violence?
  • What are some of the ways those interviewed describe life changing due to violence in their communities in the past year?
  • When and Where have attacks against Asian Americans been increasing?
  • Whhas this violence increased, according to some observers?
  • How have communities responded to the wave of violence?

Focus Question:What do you think are some good ways to prevent violence and hate crimes, including in your own community?

Media Literacy: Why do you think this report focused mostly on Oakland and San Francisco if this is a problem throughout the country?

Dig Deeper: You can also watch the following NewsHour segment about the shooting in Atlanta:

  1. Read and discuss this article on how to address the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes.
  2. Learn more about Asian American history in the U.S. with this lesson plan, and examine how the attack on Pearl Harbor led to xenophobia against Asian Americans similar to what the coronavirus has caused. 
  3. Check out this lesson plan to examine how different groups of people have been affected differently by the coronavirus. 

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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