Local therapist 'not surprised' as FBI reports 76% increase in hate crimes against Asians

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- New numbers from the FBI Monday show a 76% rise in hate crimes against Asians in 2020.

The spike in crimes is due in large part to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FBI said. The data was originally reported in late August, but there was a discrepancy in Ohio's reporting. The updated numbers show 279 reported hate crimes against Asians in 2020. In 2019, that number was 158.

Your Change Provider therapist, Jeanie Chang, thought the number would be higher based on what she hears in the community. However, the FBI's reporting establishes legitimacy in what Asian Americans are readily experiencing.

"You want to hear the credibility in an organization like the FBI," said Chang.

She thought it would be a 100% increase, but understands many crimes go unreported due to fear and shame of the victim.

"It can be more distressing, because of the culture, to report it for somebody that actually experienced a hate crime, but we're talking culture here," she added. "You'd be very surprised at how the viewpoint is very different, culturally speaking."

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Of all reported hate crimes detailed by the FBI, more than half of the offenders were white. African-American offenders made up 21% of the total.

Additionally, some 60% of all reported hate crimes were on the basis of the victim's race; followed by sexual orientation and religious belief.

Thirty-five percent of all reported hate crimes had an anti-Black bias--even though Black people represent just 12% of the U.S. population according to the 2020 Census. Jewish people were also disproportionately targeted--8% of all incidents were antisemitic, though just 2% of the population is estimated to be Jewish.

"If we don't talk about it and we suppress everything...I feel like that toxicity builds in our culture of let's not talk about it," Chang said, "And that just worsens it."

She's hopeful people in the South will start discussing it more.

"I'll be honest what we have in the Southern culture, people tend to be a little bit more like let's not bring up the ugly, let's just be good about it," said Chang. "I think that that's good and bad. That could be feigning ignorance, but that it also could be a good way of being positive because there is such negativity also surrounding this that's not good for our mental health."
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