Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2022

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies and Asian Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Brian Dempster

Second Advisor

Bilal Mahmood


With the spread of the global health crisis that is COVID-19, hate crimes towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have skyrocketed in the U.S., largely due to the charged rhetoric and misperceptions perpetrated by the U.S. government that link COVID-19 to people of Asian descent. This project analyzes the history of discrimination towards AAPIs in the United States and its present-day context. Moreover, this analysis reveals the detrimental effects of verbal and physical assaults on the emotional and physical health of AAPIs and explores the possible solutions we can implement to decrease these crimes. Finally, I consider the implications of this phenomenon and explain that it is not just a national problem but a global one. A mixed-methods approach is utilized in order to create a holistic, balanced analytical framework. Qualitative data, including journal articles and research studies, show historical and contemporary iterations of Anti-Asian behavior. Interviews help to humanize the impact of this phenomenon on individuals, and quantitative data demonstrates the tangible impact of these crimes. My research finds that with the increase in hate crimes over the past two years, we in the AAPI community have had to change our daily routines and felt unsafe and paranoid just because of how we look. Anti-Asian hate has been ignored and buried deep in American history for too long, and COVID-19, despite its tragic consequences, allows us to unearth years of discourse and issues that must now be addressed.