At a time of national crisis when Americans could benefit from rallying together, attitudes toward racial minorities seem to be hardening, especially when it comes to Asian and Black Americans.
A study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center released Wednesday shows that nearly 40% of Asian and Black Americans – as well as 27% of Hispanics – say they’ve had adverse experiences because of their race or ethnicity since the coronavirus outbreak began. Those experiences include hearing slurs or jokes or fearing someone may threaten or physically attack them.
By contrast, only 13% of whites reported similar instances.
In addition, almost 40% of U.S. adults – including 58% of the respondents of Asian descent – said it’s more common for people to express racist views about Asians than before the outbreak. And both Black Americans (42%) and Asian Americans (36%) expressed a significant degree of concern that they might arouse suspicion if they wear a mask when in stores or other businesses.
That’s a particularly worrisome response considering the consensus of health experts that wearing face coverings helps curb the virus’ spread, which has led public officials in several cities and states to make them mandatory when in public.