During his speech, Biden called anti-Asian sentiment “un-American” and called on the violent attacks to stop. Biden made the comments following mounting news that such racist attacks have surged throughout the pandemic.
“Too often, we’ve turned against one another," said Biden. "Vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated. At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, they’re on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives, and still, still they’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. ... It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop."
The violent attacks have been attributed to racist rhetoric seeking to place the blame on Asian-Americans for COVID-19, as it is believed the novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China. The NYPD reported that anti-Asian hate crimes had increased by 1,900 percent during the first half of 2020 alone. U.S. Rep. Grace Meng said that across 47 states, there have been 2,600 reports of anti-Asian incidents including verbal harassment, “shunning,” and physical assaults.
"Racially motivated violence and other incidents against Asian Americans have reached an alarming level across the United States since the outbreak of COVID-19," read a United Nations report shared last year. There have been increases in vandalism and robberies against Asian-American people and businesses.
Vice President Kamala Harris previously denounced the rise in hate crime last month. “Hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans and Asian immigrants have skyrocketed during the pandemic," she wrote. "That’s why our Administration has taken actions to address these xenophobic attacks. We must continue to commit ourselves to combating racism and discrimination.
Many have accused Trump of further stoking xenophobia and racism against Asian-Americans, specifically with him calling COVID-19 "the China virus" on numerous occasions. “There’s a clear correlation between President Trump’s incendiary comments, his insistence on using the term ‘Chinese virus’ and the subsequent hate speech spread on social media and the hate violence directed towards us,” Russell Jeung, a co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, told Time. “It gives people license to attack us. The current spate of attacks on our elderly is part of how that rhetoric has impacted the broader population.”
To find out how to help curb the rise in Anti-Asian violence, read more here.