By Charlotte Brooks
Between the early 1900s and the overdue Fifties, the attitudes of white Californians towards their Asian American associates advanced from outright hostility to relative attractiveness. Charlotte Brooks examines this change in the course of the lens of California’s city housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian americans, which first and foremost stranded them in segregated components, finally facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that defied different minorities. opposed to the backdrop of chilly battle efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who observed little distinction among Asians and Asian american citizens more and more encouraged the latter group’s entry to middle-class existence and the residential components that went with it. yet as they remodeled Asian american citizens right into a “model minority,” whites purposefully missed the lengthy backstory of chinese language and eastern american citizens’ early and principally failed makes an attempt to take part in private and non-private housing courses. As Brooks tells this multifaceted tale, she attracts on a huge variety of assets in a number of languages, giving voice to an array of neighborhood leaders, newshounds, activists, and homeowners—and insightfully conveying the complexity of racialized housing in a multiracial society.
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Additional info for Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California
The newly formed Asiatic Exclusion League also dredged up familiar arguments about low Asian living and moral standards to make its case for exclusion. “Search the police records of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, or any other Mongolian center and you will find—what? 49 Still, the Japanese commanded more respect than their predecessors. In 1905, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, a victory that forced Western nations to take the rising empire seriously. In 1906, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to segregate Japanese American children in public elementary schools, just as the city had long segregated Chinese American children.
Law Shee Low’s family occupied a typical one-room flat in Chinatown. “We did everything in that one room: sleep, eat, and sit,” she recalled. “We had a small three-ring burner for cooking. 43 Regardless, as the population of couples with children grew during the 1910s and 1920s, Chinese Americans who hoped to enlarge Chinatown or live outside it faced staunch resistance. 26 Chapter One national segregation, local echoes During the 1910s and 1920s, the racial segregation of African Americans became as common in Northern cities as the restriction of Chinese Americans in San Francisco.
Political parties and numerous officials also embraced the Chinese issue, often using it to camouflage less appealing parts of their platforms. Many public health officials and middle-class reformers exploited anti-Chinese sentiment to gain legitimacy and respect in the city. 11 In this circular process, beliefs about Chinese undesirability, filth, labor competition, and low living standards became so ingrained in the city’s traditions and in the minds of its white residents that these ideas continued to shape San Francisco’s racial geography long into the twentieth century.
Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California by Charlotte Brooks