Charles Fain Lehman testified before the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in a hearing entitled, "Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans."
Thank you to the committee for the invitation to speak today about the important issue of rising crime against Asian Americans. Many of our fellow citizens now fear for their safety in their own neighborhoods. I am glad this matter has not escaped Congress's attention, particularly in light of Tuesday's awful shooting outside of Atlanta.
I am speaking today as a researcher focused on crime, and it is in that capacity that I want to offer two points. The first is that, while some of these offenses were doubtless motivated by bias, you should be cautious when interpreting the broader trend solely as a spike in hate crimes. The second, relatedly, is that these crimes should be understood as part of a larger surge in violence.
As you are aware, crime is rising in several Asian-American communities, particularly in the greater Bay Area and New York City. There have been reports of assaults, daylight robberies, and general mayhem targeting Asian citizens, especially the elderly. Many have identified these offenses as hate crimes, linking them to bigoted sentiments inspired by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.
Photo by z1b/iStock