Professor Russell Jeung Tracks Coronavirus-Related Racism


As the COVID-19 virus spread across the globe, Asian American Studies professor and chair Russell Jeung was busy tracking a different corrosive contagion: xenophobia. Early on he noticed a sharp rise in media reports about coronavirus-related racism, a finding he highlighted in reports sent to California civil rights groups. As a result, some of those groups are now working with the Asian American Studies department to track — and hopefully help stop — pandemic-inspired harassment.

In one recent study, Jeung and two collaborators surveyed American news reports between Feb. 7 and March 9 and found a 50% increase in the number of articles about discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that first week, there were 93 stories. By the fourth week the number ballooned to 140 articles.

The details in Jeung’s reports prompted California leaders to take action. In March, SF State, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) launched the Stop AAPI Hate Center. The online database allows people to report harassment, shunning, bullying and other racially motivated attacks and assaults they witness or experience firsthand.

Another initiative proposed by Jeung — a statewide anti-racism ad campaign — has been funded by policy groups. The campaign will likely target social media, grocery stores and mass transit.

The College of Ethnic Studies has this legacy of working with community partners to try to effect social change.
                                                                   —Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American Studies

Though he’s been alarmed by the spike in anti-Asian discrimination, Jeung is impressed by the swift action to combat it. “This is a good example of community-engaged research that has policy impact,” he says. “The College of Ethnic Studies has this legacy of working with community partners to try to effect social change. This is just another example of how we work with students and the community to really empower the most marginalized in our society.”

This profile of Professor Russell Jeung by SF State's Stategic Marketing & Communications department was originally printed in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of the SF State Magazine

Professor Jeung has now launched the Asian American Research Initiative (AARI) at San Francisco State to expand the impact of the Stop AAPI Hate consortium’s work. AARI will convene researchers, develop policy reports to address anti-Asian racism and develop educational materials to address the root sources of anti-Asian racism.

Read more about Professor Jeung's research via the links below.

News Article:

$10 million from the California budget goes to Stop AAPI Hate, co-founded by Professor Russell Jeung

In July 2021, California governor Gavin Newsom signed the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Equity Budget, which includes $10 million to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate, co-founded by San Francisco State University Professor of Asian American Studies Russell Jeung. Stop AAPI Hate is a national coalition that addresses anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) racism and hate in the U.S. 

Read this story


SFSU's Russell Jeung Calls for Community, Compassion in Countering Anti-Asian Racism

Dr. Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU), joined Chris Tomlinson of the Houston Chronicle to discuss the uptick in racialized incidents directed toward Asian Americans as well as the broader historical and geopolitical contexts. He spoke on the steps people could take to address the issue and help prevent the harm that could result.

'I'm Asian, so I can never be American'

Attacks on East Asian people living in the US have shot up during the pandemic, revealing an uncomfortable truth about American identity. Authorities in New York City and Los Angeles say that hate incidents against people of Asian descent have increased, while a reporting centre run by advocacy groups and San Francisco State University says it received over 1,700 reports of coronavirus-related discrimination from at least 45 US states since it launched in March.


Empowering era for ethnic studies - San Francisco Chronicle, 6/29/2020

Fifty-one years ago, San Francisco State became the first university in the country to establish a College of Ethnic Studies. Seven years ago, SFSU graduate student Alicia Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter.

Donate to the Asian American Research Initiative (AARI) at SF State


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For more information:


Alex Sanchez

Director of Development
College of Ethnic Studies
Phone: (415) 338-1032