The United States has begun reopening its economy. But for some people, the lockdown continues with a different kind of fear that is not COVID-19.
As the economy attempts to get back to normal with companies summoning workers back to work, Asian Americans say that America’s race to reopen invites worries about being attacked in their movements on public transport, in restaurants and other places.
Asian Americans interviewed across the country, highlighted their fears in this regard while continuing to avoid subways, public transportation, restaurants or even returning to work away from their homes.
Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of community and academic organizations, tracked over 6,600 attacks and incidents targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from March 2020 to March 2021.
A recent federal survey described one in three Asian Americans worried about becoming victims of hate crimes, besides barely 18% of Asian American returning to in-person learning.
However, while Asian Americans express hope of the hate crimes vanishing with the pandemic, the fear remains. “It’s (fear) embedded so deeply,” said Lily Zhu, 30, a tech worker in Pflugerville, Texas – who, despite being vaccinated, avoids bus transportation and feels more comfortable in Asian markets like H-Mart or the 99 Ranch Market in Austin