Posted on October 15, 2021

Studies Show That White People Drive Anti-Asian Hate. So Why Are the ‘Solutions’ Targeting Brown People?

Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, October 10, 2021

Last week, I spent an hour talking to Janelle Wong about the misconceptions around who is perpetuating anti-Asian violence. Wong, a professor of American and Asian American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, knew I was planning to write a column. Before getting off the phone, she sighed, laughed and said, “Good luck.”

Based on reactions to her own work on the topic, she added, “This won’t be easy.”

That’s because much of white America sleeps better at night knowing the lawless Black criminal narrative is thriving.

These people don’t want you thinking about how anti-Asian and anti-Black sentiments have shaped this country, or that it was our former white nationalist in chief, Donald Trump, who reignited them for the pandemic era. {snip}


The study Janelle Wong published in June was an analysis of anti-Asian hate incidents in the U.S., including the Bay Area.

Here’s what she found: While there is limited data about who commits hate crimes, the national statistics that do exist routinely show that perpetrators are most often white. That extends to those committing anti-Asian incidents as well, where a study of law enforcement statistics from 1992 to 2014 and a separate study of media reports from last year both found that around 75% of offenders were white.

Here in the oh-so-progressive Bay Area, this research gets ignored while traditional power structures push “solutions” that help them thrive: more policing in brown neighborhoods, not white ones, and a return to a “tough-on-crime” ’90s mindset that will jump-start the mass incarceration of Black and brown people in the 21st century.

In San Francisco, District Attorney Chesa Boudin is fending off conservative-funded recall efforts that want to replace him with someone who champions a more punitive approach to policing.

In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong have drawn lines between increasing violence and the defund movement {snip}


Alvina Wong, campaign and organizing director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, is one many Asian community leaders decrying Oakland’s stubborn investment in traditional policing.

“In the anti-Asian hate context, I think a lot of folks who are very much pro crime-and-punishment, and want to see more investment into that system … they have a lot of reason to use that mechanism to drive a narrative about safety that just isn’t true,” Alvina Wong said. “Increased money into policing does not equate to more safety.”