Anti-Asian American Hate Crimes Bill Passes the House

by Jan Frazier

Washington, D.C.  (Washington Insider Magazine) Amid the pandemic, the “House on Tuesday passed a modest measure aiming at combating a surge in hate crimes directed at Asian Americans.” It will now go to the President.

The vote was overwhelming – 364-62 votes. This is an unusual bipartisan effort to attempt to stop a rise in crime against Asian Americans. All of this follows the Atlanta shooting of six Asian American women. Because of the unusual bipartisan votes, “political paralysis” has been avoided. Other legislation that dealt with recent national tragedies in the Black communities was not so lucky.

Every Democrat who voted in the House backed the bill, “which would create a Justice Department position focusing on anti-Asian hate crimes and provide resources to beef up state and local reporting.”

According to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, the anti-Asian hate crimes were “spiked by 169 percent” during the first quarter of 2021. This rise is compared to that same period of time in 2020.  Unfortunately, the crimes could actually have been much high due to “chronic under-reporting within minority communities.”

Controversial rhetoric about the virus and pandemic was used by Donald Trump and other Republicans when they used “the derogatory phrase China virus.” This was the cause of some of the anti-Asian American hate crimes in recent months.

The Atlanta shooting – causing the death of six women – is now being examined as a hate crime. Part of the spike in anti-Asian American displeasure has been the “discriminatory terminology and rhetoric” heard on the news.

“Lawmakers and advocates hailed the passage of the legislation as a first step towards curbing the pandemic-era rise in hate crimes.” This is Congress’s “first substantive piece of legislation addressing the issue.”  The only other legislation that lawmakers have seen has been a “nonbinding resolution passed by the House last year condemning anti-Asian sentiment.”


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