Asian-owned businesses say they’re reeling from hate and violence, operating in fear

Asian American-owned ramen restaurant in San Antonio, Texas

Asian American-owned ramen restaurant in San Antonio, Texas
An Asian American-owned ramen restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, pictured vandalized in March. (Courtesy Tyler Price/214 Digital)

“We don’t have a peace of mind to sleep,” said Rosaline Hui, a retail store owner in the Jade District and owner and editor of the Portland Chinese Times newspaper. “The first time it happens to you, maybe you feel it’s so scary. The second time and third time and fourth time, what do you feel? You feel numb.”

Hui has heard from Asian-owned businesses around the district that say they’ve been vandalized multiple times — rocks thrown in windows or doors broken in — and she believes reports to police are going nowhere. The Portland Police Bureau said it is in the midst of a staffing shortage and prioritizes situations that involve life safety over property crimes. “At times our ability to do followup investigation on vandalism is limited … unless there is clear indication of a bias motivation as that would elevate the investigative response,” Sgt. Kevin Allen said in a statement.

Between March 2020 and February 2021, about 35 percent of discrimination reported to Stop AAPI Hate happened at businesses, the top location for reports. “We’ve always known that essential workers — people who continue to have to work outside of the home — have always been in danger, not just of COVID, but of course, because of the surge in anti-Asian racism,” Stop AAPI Hate co-founder Cynthia Choi told the PBS NewsHour.