Washington: Hindi is among the top five languages spoken by Asian Americans, an eminent expert said in Washington.
Often lost in the broad brush of the model minority myth are the inequities created by lack of language access, John Yang, president and executive director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) told members of the Senate, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Nearly two-third of the Asian American population are immigrants, with 52 per cent of Asian American immigrants having limited English proficiency (LEP), he said.
“LEP rates vary sharply across Asian American communities. The top languages spoken among Asian immigrants are Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, and Hindi,” Yang said.
“The rates of limited English proficiency among these groups vary–66 per cent of immigrants from China are LEP, as are 35 per cent of immigrants from the Philippines, 72 per cent from Vietnam, 64 per cent from Korea and 29 per cent from India,” he said.
At 79 per cent, immigrants from Burma have the highest LEP rates among Asian Americans and it is notable that even among the Asian American immigrant groups with lower LEP rates, about one-third of the population faces challenges communicating in English, he told the Senators. Yang said despite popular misconceptions, including misleading surveys that excluded Asian Americans with limited proficiency in English, Asian Americans have suffered tremendous financial hardships during the course of the pandemic.
“Compounding devastating health and financial impacts on the Asian American community is the onslaught of anti-Asian hate. We have seen racist harassment and violence toward Asian Americans who are wrongly blamed for Covid-19 since the emergence of the pandemic,” he said.