Shades of Hate: A Deeper Understanding of Asian American & Pacific Islander Experiences

Shades of Hate: A Deeper Understanding of Asian American & Pacific Islander Experiences

Stop AAPI Hate operates the largest reporting center dedicated to tracking acts of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Since 2020, thousands of people have reported experiences of bigotry to our center. Collected from across the country, these stories paint a vivid picture of what hate looks like and the collective harm and dehumanization that our communities endure.

In order to understand people’s experiences more deeply and advocate for effective, holistic solutions, we need a clearer understanding of the various forms of hate our communities face. Looking at different dimensions, we code each hate act reported to us. Analyzed in aggregate, patterns and themes emerge, giving us insight into how we can advocate for more tailored solutions to racism.

Shades of Hate: A Deeper Understanding of Asian American & Pacific Islander Experiences outlines the updated classification system we use to code each hate act report. To develop this system, we wove together insights from three strands of research — studies of hate crimes and hate groups, studies of everyday racism and microaggressions, and studies of institutional discrimination and systemic racism.

How is the hate experienced? Is it interpersonal or societal? Is the experience of racial bias explicit, coded, or perceived? Does the experience contain a comparator (i.e., evidence of being treated differently than
a similarly situated non-Asian American or non-Pacific Islander person(s))? Is the bias intersectional (i.e., directed at multiple identities)?

Who is involved? Was the offender acting as an individual or in an institutional capacity? Is the report being made for oneself, or on behalf of a friend or relative, someone else, or entire communities?

What is the hate act? Is it harassment, physical harm, institutional discrimination, or property harm? Where does the hate act take place?

Key Observations

Our updated classification system highlights the many different shades of hate our communities experience. We have learned that community members adopt a broad understanding of “hate” to mean any encounter that is shaped by racial bias, including harassment, physical attacks, and unfair treatment. We have found that:

  1. Hate is not confined to interpersonal interactions but is bred within a larger environment of societal hate, requiring a broader approach to prevention and healing.
  2. Hate is not just explicit, but also coded and hidden. Although it can be harder to detect, non-explicit hate is potentially more pervasive and just as harmful. It must be understood and addressed alongside more explicit forms of hate.
  3. Offenders are not just individuals but also institutions and institutional representatives. This reveals opportunities for improvement in institutional policies and practices and possibilities for civil rights solutions.

For More Information:

(This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.)


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