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Many Black and Asian Americans say they’ve experienced racism amid Covid-19 outbreak

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Photo Courtesy of Civil Eats


Published 07/01/2020 | Reading Time 6 min 38 sec 

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The coronavirus outbreak continues to have far-reaching health and economic consequences for the American public. But for many, especially Black and Asian Americans, the effects extend beyond medical and financial concerns. About four-in-ten Black and Asian adults say people have acted as if they were uncomfortable around them because of their race or ethnicity since the beginning of the outbreak, and similar shares say they worry that other people might be suspicious of them if they wear a mask when out in public, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Black and Asian Americans are also more likely than their white and Hispanic counterparts to say they have been subject to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity, but Asian adults are the most likely to say this has happened to them since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. About three-in-ten Asian adults (31%) say they have been subjected to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity since the outbreak began, compared with 21% of Black adults, 15% of Hispanic adults and 8% of white adults.

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Beyond the personal experiences of various groups, about four-in-ten U.S. adults (39%) say it is more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views about people who are Asian than it was before the coronavirus outbreak, while 30% say it has become more common for people to express these views toward people who are Black. Smaller shares say that, compared to before the outbreak, it is more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views about people who are Hispanic (19%) or white (14%).

Following are additional key findings from the survey of 9,654 U.S. adults, which was conducted from June 4-10, 2020, as demonstrations continued across the country to protest the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed while in police custody:

Asian and Black Americans are more likely to report adverse experiences due to their race or ethnicity since the pandemic began. About four-in-ten Asian (39%) and Black (38%) adults – and 27% of Hispanic adults – say someone has acted uncomfortable around them because of their race or ethnicity since the coronavirus outbreak. Only 13% of white adults say this has happened to them.

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Three-in-ten or more U.S. adults say racist views about Asian and Black Americans are more common than before the pandemic. A majority of Asian Americans (58%) and 45% of Black Americans say that it is more common for people to express racist views toward their group since the coronavirus outbreak; smaller shares of Hispanic (21%) and white (18%) Americans say the same about people expressing racist views toward people who are Hispanic or white, respectively.

Sizable shares of Black and Asian adults say they worry other people might be suspicious of them if they wear a mask in public. About four-in-ten Black Americans (42%) and 36% of Asian Americans say they worry a great deal or a fair amount that other people might be suspicious of them because of their race or ethnicity if they wear a mask or face covering when in stores or other businesses. About a quarter of Hispanic adults (23%) and just 5% of white adults say they worry about this.

Concern among Black adults varies considerably by age. About half of Black Americans younger than 50 (51%) say they worry about people being suspicious of them because of their race or ethnicity if they wear a mask or face covering in stores or other businesses; 30% of Black adults ages 50 and older say the same. Black men and women are about equally likely to say they worry about people being suspicious of them if they wear a mask or face covering.

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About three-in-ten Black adults under 50 (28%) say they have feared someone might threaten or physically attack them (vs. 9% of older Black adults), and 25% say they have been subject to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity since the coronavirus outbreak (vs. 15%).

About half of Black adults (51%) say someone has expressed support for them because of their race or ethnicity since the coronavirus outbreak, more than any other racial or ethnic group. In particular, younger Black adults say they received this support (55% vs. 44% among those ages 50 and older).

Age and education are linked to differing perceptions of whether racist views toward Asians are now more common. About half of younger adults ages 18 to 29 (51%) say that racist views about Asian people are more common now since the coronavirus outbreak, compared with about four-in-ten or fewer among those in older age groups. Those with college degrees or more (47%) also are more likely than those with some college or less education (35%) to say the same.

Read the report: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/07/01/many-black-and-asian-americans-say-they-have-experienced-discrimination-amid-the-covid-19-outbreak

Methodology: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/07/01/methodology-35

Survey topline: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/06/PSDT_07.01.20_racism_TOPLINE.pdf


Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on our Fact Tank blog.

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