Discrimination Against Asians is on the Rise in Massachusetts

by | Nov 29, 2023 | Discrimination |

Nearly one in three Asian American adults have feared threats or physical attacks since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, a proportion far higher than any other racial group, according to a Pew Research Center study in April 2021.

While the total number of hate crimes in Massachusetts has increased by 2 percent from 2015 to 2020, those targeting people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have escalated by 47 percent. And over the past year, anti-Asian hate crimes in Massachusetts have skyrocketed even more dramatically by 70 percent.

Over the past two years, 208 instances of racially motivated hate crimes have been reported to the Boston Police Department. Of these, nearly one in five have been perpetrated against Asians and Asian Americans, despite that only 9.7 percent of Boston’s population is of Asian descent. The crimes ranged from willful destruction of property to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, but simple assault and battery and harassment by racial epithet made up the vast majority of the crimes at 42.5 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

The Quincy Police Department also reported similar instances of anti-Asian assault and battery and property damage. Hate crimes in Cambridge in 2020 are 7 percent higher than the ten-year average and are not broken down by race. However, there are widely-known incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes in Cambridge. For example, Michael Cheng, the former president of Harvard Undergraduate Council, received racist notes containing anti-Chinese slurs in his college dormitory this February.

The police departments of Malden, Lowell, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Brookline did not respond to requests for information.

These data, however, do not tell the full story. The actual number of anti-Asian hate crimes is likely much higher because of the stringent legal criteria for hate crime categorization, and fail to capture incidents like the attorney’s.

Other crimes may go unreported altogether.

“The Asian illegal immigrants who are here, they do not want to report such incidents because then their own legal status is questioned,” said Yasmin Forbes, executive director of the Massachusetts Asian American and Pacific Islanders Commission.

“There are lots of actions we can take. One is looking at where one needs to build broad-based coalitions across all different colored communities, so you’re working together on systemic racism that exists across America.”

Should you be experiencing racial discrimination, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE confidential consultation.


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