Starting the Conversation on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, discrimination and violence against Asian Americans rose sharply.

The dramatic uptick in these incidents is linked to the spread of COVID-19, which was first reported in China.

Click below to learn about a new law intended to address hate crimes in the United States, and get the conversation started about what else should be done to prevent hate crimes and discrimination.

So Here’s the Question

At your next gathering or in a group chat, use these questions to spark a discussion:

  • Does this type of legislation actually curb these types of crimes, or is it designed just to make a statement?
  • Is enough being done at the local level to educate communities on what groups are specifically being targeted and why?
  • Why does law enforcement put so much emphasis on categorizing and reporting these types of crimes?
  • Have you or someone you know been a victim of a hate crime? How were you personally affected by it?
  • If you had a say, how would sentencing differentiate between a crime and a hate crime?
  • Why is it important to designate a crime a “hate crime”?
  • What more can be done to prevent hate crimes across the board?

Something to Consider

Here’s a sample of what people are saying either supporting or opposing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. We’ve intentionally left out the commenters’ names so you can focus on the viewpoint itself, not the speaker’s affiliations.

It’s time for Congress to codify and expand upon these actions – because every person in our nation deserves to live their lives with safety, dignity and respect."

Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scapegoated for the outbreak of COVID-19, and as a result, Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed, spat on and even set on fire and killed."

It’s just, you know, the ability and power to define crimes, to define incidents going forward, and collect all that data, it just seemed hugely, hugely over broad.”

In doing so, their language stoked people’s fears and created an atmosphere of intolerance and violence, which persists even today.”

Hate crime classifications and statistics do not change the structural conditions that lead to violence against marginalized communities.”

Education, public messaging — particularly from elected officials — and other community-based programs aimed at reconciliation and repair are more likely to reduce the incidence of hate crimes.”

For Deeper Exploration

Looking for more? These resources will help you:

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