"It’s not “new” news that Asian Australians are experiencing high rates of
racism during the pandemic. However, existing data under-represent the true
extent of COVID-related racism. The vast majority of cases aren’t being
formally reported and official reporting processes aren’t capturing or
addressing the impact of racism on Asian Australians.
Our recent national survey of 2,003 Asian Australians examined the nature, type
and frequency of racist incidents they experience.
It also investigated changes over time (before and during the pandemic), the
effects of such experiences on people’s mental health, wellbeing and sense of
belonging, the reporting of racist incidents, and the actions (or inactions) of
Our study found that four in ten Asian Australians experienced racism during
the pandemic (and nearly the same number witnessed racism).
Of these, however, just 3% reported the incident to the Australian Human Rights
Commission. Police received more reports (12%), as did bosses (7%) and teachers
(6%). A much larger proportion (29%) of participants didn’t report the racism
they experienced or witnessed (not even to friends or family).
Reporting to the AHRC appeared to be higher than usual at the start of the
pandemic. In February 2020, the AHRC recorded the highest monthly number of
racial discrimination complaints that financial year. And one in four people
who reported racial discrimination to the commission in early 2020 linked those
incidents to COVID-19.
Our findings worryingly suggest this is an under-representation of the racism
that is occurring during the pandemic."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics