Hate Crimes

August 13, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 29
Should they be prosecuted more aggressively?
By Susan Ladika


Hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased in the past year, a development that experts say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2019 to 2020, bias-based crimes against Asians rose nearly 150 percent in major U.S. cities, and the trend has continued this year. Many blame the increase on the rhetoric of former President Donald Trump, who called COVID-19 the “China virus” and “kung flu.” While the pandemic has highlighted anti-Asian animus, hate crimes generally are on the rise against other racial, ethnic and religious groups and among people targeted due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Researchers say these crimes are often significantly underreported and underprosecuted, and lawmakers hope new federal statutes designed to improve state and local hate crime reporting will better define the scope of the problem. Others say that merely gathering better statistics will not solve the problem and want more prosecutions of bias-based crimes. Critics of hate crime laws say they violate free speech rights and create special protections for certain groups based on political considerations.

Photo of residents protesting Asian hate crimes in Los Angeles in Thai Town on April 8, 2021. (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Genaro Molina)
Residents protest Asian hate crimes in Los Angeles' Thai Town neighborhood in April, at a mural commemorating a victim, Vicha Ratanapakdee. Hate crimes against Asians rose about 150 percent in some large U.S. cities last year, a trend some experts attribute to COVID-19 and rhetoric from former President Donald Trump, who called the disease the “China virus” or “kung flu.” (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Genaro Molina)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Racism and Hate
Aug. 13, 2021  Hate Crimes
Feb. 12, 2021  Slavery's Legacy
May 12, 2017  Anti-Semitism
Mar. 17, 2017  ‘Alt-Right’ Movement
Sep. 18, 2015  Far-Right Extremism
Nov. 22, 2013  Racial Profiling
May 08, 2009  Hate Groups
Jun. 01, 2007  Shock Jocks Updated
Jan. 07, 1994  Racial Tensions in Schools
Jan. 08, 1993  Hate Crimes
May 12, 1989  The Growing Danger of Hate Groups
Nov. 05, 1969  American History: Reappraisal and Revision
Mar. 31, 1965  Extremist Movements in Race and Politics
May 13, 1964  Racism in America
Dec. 03, 1958  Spread of Terrorism and Hatemongering
Jul. 10, 1946  Ku Klux Klan
Jan. 09, 1945  Race Equality
Dec. 19, 1933  Lynching and Kidnapping
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Civil Rights Movement
Congress Actions
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Crime and Law Enforcement
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process
Domestic Issues
General Social Trends
Hate Groups
Infectious Diseases
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Race and Hate Crimes
Segregation and Desegregation
Sentencing and Corrections
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Violence and the Family