By Annelise Gilbert/The Uptowner
Hate crimes are surging in upper Manhattan, outpacing an increase across New York City after a dip in 2020 with its pandemic-related lockdown. The 35 bias-attacks reported in uptown precincts this year puts offenses on track to top the previous record, 36 incidents in 2018.
“Even though violence and harassment towards Asians have happened in the past, this is definitely a troubling phenomenon right now,” said Stanley Mark, an attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. He attributes the increase to a confluence of historic anti-Asian sentiment, former President Trump’s rhetoric blaming China for COVID-19 and political portrayals of the country as a foreign policy threat.
“Anti-Asian sentiment is part of the legal legacy of this country,” said Mark, citing the Chinese Exclusion Act, among other laws. Historically, “Asians have been blamed as disease carriers,” he said. Now, with COVID-19, “the whole race of people, or the whole of folks who even look Chinese, are considered carriers or people who are at fault for this disease,” Mark said.