How U.S. Lawmakers Have Discussed Asian Americans on Social Media

This document examines how regularly – and in what context – lawmakers point out Asian American citizens of their public-facing communications on social media. To behavior this research, Pew Analysis Heart accumulated each Fb put up and tweet created by way of each vote casting member of Congress between Jan. 1, 2016, and April 5, 2021. The research contains legit, marketing campaign and private accounts. 

Researchers from the Heart known all posts that without delay discussed Asian American citizens, both jointly or within the context of smaller subgroups, the use of an inventory of key phrases. Those key phrases come with the time period “Asian American”; acronyms like “AAPI” which might be frequently used to explain Asian American citizens; names of the commonest Asian American foundation teams as outlined by way of the U.S. Census Bureau (reminiscent of “Chinese language American” or “Pakistani American”); and commonplace hashtags related to Asian American citizens (reminiscent of #APAHM, used to consult with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month). Researchers didn’t seek for mentions of Asian American folks by way of title.

Along with figuring out all posts in this period of time that referenced those phrases, researchers from the Heart additionally performed an in-depth content material research of posts from January 1, 2020, to April 5, 2021 to spot the ones expressing fear about racism, discrimination or xenophobia in opposition to the Asian American neighborhood.

See the Methodology for extra on how this research used to be performed.

Asian American citizens, Local Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are regularly referenced as a unmarried entity, even if each and every workforce has its personal distinctive histories, cultures, languages and different traits. This document basically makes a speciality of lawmaker references to Asian American citizens in social media posts, and known those posts partially by way of searching for mentions in their detailed foundation teams. However as a way to seize as many related posts as imaginable, the hunt phrases additionally incorporated commonplace acronyms or words which might be related to Asian American citizens, Local Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders alike (reminiscent of “AAPI”). 

As well as, the Heart’s historic database of congressional social media information contains most effective vote casting participants of Congress. As such, it does no longer come with delegates from Guam, American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands (or the ones from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or District of Columbia).

Asian American citizens are outlined by way of their range. With roots in additional than 20 other nations, the Asian American inhabitants as a gaggle nearly doubled between 2000 and 2019. Demographic shifts have resulted in greater prominence for Asian American citizens within the voting booth and the halls of Congress. On the similar time, 32% of Asian adults say they have got feared that any individual may threaten or bodily assault them because of their race within the wake of violent incidents in opposition to Asian American citizens all the way through the continuing coronavirus outbreak.

In the course of those political and cultural traits, a Pew Analysis Heart research of greater than 5 years of congressional social media process unearths that lawmakers are increasingly more bringing up Asian American citizens on Fb and Twitter.

From 2016 via 2019, lawmaker mentions of Asian American citizens on social media – both of the inhabitants at huge or of smaller subgroups – adopted a rather predictable trend. Participants of Congress jointly discussed this workforce fewer than 2,000 occasions in each and every of those years, with per month mentions constantly attaining their top as lawmakers venerated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in Might.

The quantity and timing of those posts diverged from the 2016-2019 development beginning in early 2020, as participants of Congress produced greater than 1,400 posts bringing up Asian American citizens within the first 4 months of that 12 months. And in 3 first 3 months of 2021, lawmakers have very much surpassed the overall choice of once a year mentions of Asian American citizens in yearly from 2016 via 2019 – and feature just about exceeded the overall choice of mentions from the entire in the past record-setting 12 months of 2020.

Within the month of March 2021 on my own – ahead of the deadly taking pictures of six Asian ladies and two other folks within the Atlanta space on March 16, in addition to a number of different distinguished incidents of anti-Asian violence – lawmakers posted over 2,500 references to Asian American citizens, a determine this is higher than the once a year totals for any 12 months previous to 2020.

Along with generating a bigger quantity of posts that reference Asian American citizens, a better percentage of lawmakers are participating on this dialog than used to be true in previous years. In 2016, 167 participants of Congress (representing 31% of energetic participants all the way through that point) posted on social media bringing up Asian American citizens. Within the first 3 months of 2021, 312 participants – or 59% of all energetic lawmakers – have performed so.

Democratic lawmakers have produced maximum Fb and Twitter posts bringing up Asian American citizens

Vast majority of congressional social media posts mentioning Asian Americans came from Democrats

Democratic lawmakers have produced the majority of congressional posts bringing up Asian American citizens because the Heart started systematically amassing those tweets and Fb posts. In yearly courting again to 2016, Democratic participants of Congress have accounted for no less than 83% of posts bringing up Asian American citizens. 

Extra not too long ago, Republican lawmakers have produced simply 391 of the 7,263 such posts from participants courting again to January 2020 (Democrats produced the remainder 6,872). Right through that very same duration, 93% of Democratic lawmakers – however simply 32% of Republicans – have made no less than one specific connection with Asian American citizens on social media.Participants of Congress who’re themselves Asian American or Pacific Islander American additionally produce an outsize percentage of those posts. This workforce has comprised simply 4% of energetic lawmakers and feature produced 6% of all congressional posts on Fb and Twitter – on any matter – courting again to January 2020. However those participants produced more or less one-third (36%) of all social media posts bringing up Asian American citizens all the way through that period of time.

This distinguished position that Asian or Pacific Islander American lawmakers play on this on-line dialogue spans birthday celebration association. Some 6% of Democrats within the present (117th) Congress are of Asian or Pacific Islander foundation, however those lawmakers have accounted for one-third (33%) of all posts from Democratic lawmakers bringing up Asian American citizens in 2021. In a similar fashion, the 1% of Republican lawmakers who’re Asian or Pacific Islander American have produced 42% of all such posts from Republican participants all the way through that period of time.

References to Korean, Eastern, Chinese language and Indian American citizens make up bulk of lawmaker mentions of Asian American foundation teams since 2016

Korean and Japanese Americans mentioned more often by lawmakers on social media relative to their share of the Asian American population

Six main foundation teams – Chinese language, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and Eastern American citizens – include the majority of Asians in the USA. And those similar six teams additionally account for the vast majority of references to Asian American foundation teams by way of lawmakers on social media.

However positive foundation teams are discussed disproportionately by way of lawmakers on social media relative to their percentage of the Asian American inhabitants. Specifically, Eastern and Korean American citizens were overrepresented by way of this metric. 

From Jan. 1. 2016, to April 5, 2021, Eastern American citizens had been discussed in 20% of posts that referenced Asian American foundation teams, greater than thrice their percentage of the Asian American population (6%). And references to Korean American citizens accounted for 23% of lawmaker mentions of Asian American foundation teams, in spite of this workforce making up simply 8% of the Asian American inhabitants.

Significantly, Korean and Eastern American citizens are overrepresented in Congress itself on the subject of their respective inhabitants sizes. Of the 24 Asian or Pacific Islander participants who served over all the period of time, 10 of them are of both Korean or Eastern descent. And when Asian American lawmakers point out particular foundation teams of their posts, they have a tendency to reference their very own greater than some other.

Some foundation teams have grown kind of distinguished in lawmaker mentions through the years. Relationship again to 2016, mentions of Chinese language American citizens have accounted for 20% of lawmaker mentions of Asian foundation teams – a determine this is more or less consistent with their percentage of the inhabitants. However in 2020 and 2021, mentions of Chinese language American citizens have made up just about one-third (34%) of lawmaker foundation workforce references. Conversely, since 2020 mentions of Indian American citizens have made up a smaller percentage of lawmaker references to Asian foundation teams than within the 4 years prior.

Since early 2020, a majority of posts about Asian American citizens have expressed fear about violence, racism, xenophobia, discrimination or loss of Asian illustration

Examples of posts bringing up fear about violence or discrimination towards Asian American citizens

“The assaults in Atlanta are frightening & tragic. Six #AAPI ladies had been killed. My ideas & prayers are with the households that experience misplaced family members all the way through this unconscionable tragedy. Whilst the investigation is ongoing, I sign up for the AAPI neighborhood in opposition to the dislike and assaults.” – Rep Younger Kim, R-Calif., March 17, 2021

“Viruses don’t have an ethnicity. There’s no position for this sort of blatant, mindless racism any place, and specifically no longer in CA-17.” ‘A couple of Asian-owned companies goals of vandalism in San Jose https://t.co/sKS0Q4D2Uq’ – Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., April 23, 2020

“If you’re deficient, Black, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Indigenous, you might be at a lot larger possibility all the way through this pandemic. Democrats are dedicated to making sure The usa’s reaction addresses that disparity – and it’s time Republicans joined us in that combat. https://t.co/RydHB7FjBJ” – Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Oct. 17, 2020

“Asian American ladies earn as low as $.50 for each $1 a white guy makes doing the similar activity. That pay hole manner it’s more difficult to have the funds for healthcare and groceries, hurting households & communities. The Space already handed #PacycheckFairness. It’s time the Senate acts! #AAPIEqualPay” – Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., Feb. 11, 2020

Since early 2020, one space of topical focal point has stood out over all others in lawmaker posts bringing up Asian American citizens. Of the greater than 7,000 posts that discussed Asian American citizens from Jan. 1, 2020, via April 5, 2021, 64% discussed or expressed fear about racism, discrimination, xenophobia or violence towards Asian American citizens. Cetain key subjects and occasions stand out inside of those posts. Many posts had been spurred by way of the Atlanta spa shootings and different acts of violence in opposition to Asian American citizens in March 2021. As famous above, lawmakers produced a list choice of posts bringing up Asian American citizens all the way through that month. And the majority of those posts (91%) expressed fear about violence, racism or discrimination in opposition to Asian American citizens.

Every other set of posts point out violence, racism or discrimination towards Asian American citizens all the way through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 33% of all posts bringing up fear about Asian American citizens because the starting of 2020 explicitly discussed phrases reminiscent of “COVID,” “pandemic” or “coronavirus.” 

The rest posts are a large combine that make connection with distinguished historic occasions or to normal disparities and inequities within the Asian American neighborhood. Those posts duvet quite a lot of occasions and subjects, reminiscent of the significance of Asian American participation within the 2020 census; remembrances of the internment of Eastern American citizens all the way through International Warfare II; disproportionate well being results amongst Asian American citizens; and Asian illustration in motion pictures and pop culture.

As is correct of posts that point out Asian American citizens extra extensively, Democratic lawmakers have produced the overwhelming majority (97%) of those posts that specific fear in regards to the Asian American neighborhood. And just about part (45%) of energetic Democratic lawmakers have produced no less than one such put up since January 2020, in comparison with simply 6% of Republicans. 

In lots of circumstances, those expressions of outrage come with Asian American citizens as one workforce in a broader set of racial and ethnic teams who’ve skilled ancient or ongoing discrimination. Some 11% of those posts additionally come with mentions of teams reminiscent of Black, Hispanic or Local American citizens along side Asian American citizens.

For the reason that get started of 2020, #StopAsianHate used to be maximum commonplace hashtag utilized in lawmaker posts about Asian American citizens

For the reason that starting of 2020, #StopAsianHate has been the commonest hashtag utilized in lawmaker posts bringing up the Asian American neighborhood. Some 35% of energetic lawmakers used this hashtag from Jan. 1, 2020, via April 5, 2021, whilst 14% used the equivalent #StopAAPIHate hashtag.

Hashtags denouncing violence and discrimination have been prevalent in congressional social media posts mentioning Asian Americans

Using each and every hashtag greater dramatically within the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16, 2021. From the start of 2020 via March 15, 2021, lawmakers used those hashtags simply 93 occasions. However from March 16 via April 5, 2021, those two hashtags had been utilized by lawmakers a complete of one,265 occasions. As is correct of social media posts bringing up Asian American citizens extra extensively, the majority of posts bringing up those two hashtags (99%) had been produced by way of Democratic lawmakers. 

Different common hashtags in posts bringing up Asian American citizens contact on a number of problems. They come with the ones associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (#covid19, #coronavirus), considerations about equivalent pay for Asian American citizens (#aapiequalpay), the 2020 census (#2020census) and a number of different hashtags associated with the wider neighborhood.

Republican lawmakers are a ways much more likely to say Asian nations or folks absent any references to Asian American citizens

Republican lawmakers produce most mentions of Asian countries or people on social media

Past posts without delay bringing up Asian American citizens and their foundation teams, there’s a broader universe of lawmaker social media posts that point out Asian nations with none connection with Asian American citizens particularly. As an example, this may come with a put up during which the creator refers to “China” or “Chinese language folks,” however does no longer point out “Chinese language American citizens.” All informed, lawmakers produced greater than 30,000 such posts bringing up Asian folks or nations from the start of 2020 via April 5, 2021. This is greater than 4 occasions as many as discussed Asian American citizens.

Nearly all of each Democratic (96%) and Republican (98%) lawmakers have posted once or more since early 2020 about Asian nations or their populations. However Republican participants of Congress have produced a miles larger percentage of the overall choice of congressional posts bringing up those phrases. Of the simply over 30,000 posts because the starting of 2020 that met this standards, greater than 22,000 of them (75% of the overall) had been posted by way of congressional Republicans.

To position those figures in context, since January 2020 Democratic participants of Congress have created a equivalent choice of posts on Fb and Twitter bringing up Asian American citizens (6,874) and bringing up Asian nations or foundation teams (7,695). However in the similar period of time, Republican lawmakers have shared 58 occasions as many posts bringing up Asian nations and folks (22,493) as have discussed Asian American citizens (391).

Some 90% of posts by way of participants of Congress on this class discussed “China” and the “Chinese language” foundation workforce particularly. The following maximum prevalent nations and folks discussed are “Vietnam/Vietnamese” (8%) and “Korea/Korean” (6%).