Methods: A phenomenological design was used to gather in-depth information on the lived experiences of race-related discrimination. Those who identified as a current student at the participating university and of Korean ethnicity were recruited. Both English and Korean version of flyers were posted on the Korean student association Facebook and emailed to Korean professors to distribute to students. Interested participants were asked to fill out a brief interest survey which asked their preferred method of contact and interview language (English or Korean). A semi-structured interview was conducted with a sample of 11 students via Zoom. Guided by an inductive approach to qualitative analysis, interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded thematically using NVivo by two research team members.
Findings: Seven were males, and four were females. The range of years in the US was from 2 months to 15 years, with only one identifying as naturalized citizen. The analysis revealed four themes: experiences, causes, impact, and suggestion. Regarding Asian hate experiences, participants reported experiences that happened before and after COVID-19, feelings and responses to the direct or indirect experiences, and location of the experience. As the causes of Asian Hate, participants mentioned COVID-19, existing hate crimes, human instinct, and ignorance. Moreover, Asian Hate had impact on their mental health, sense of belonging in the US, and at limited scope of living areas (e.g., staying home more than going out). Lastly, participants reported prevention effort should be made from four entities: individual, Asian community organization, police, and government.
Conclusion and Implications: Findings highlight that hate crimes were prominent even before COVID-19, and the pandemic helped to bring the issue to light. The type of Asian Hate crimes experienced by the participants were mainly microaggression that can be harmful and hurtful when it persists. Hence, education on microaggression is needed among the public and Asian Americans themselves to acknowledge its potential harmful impact along with a protocol that support victims of Asian Hate. Lastly, by working with local community organizations, providing cultural education will also support to bridge the gap of “otherness”.