By Charlotte Brooks
Between the early 1900s and the past due Nineteen Fifties, the attitudes of white Californians towards their Asian American buddies developed from outright hostility to relative recognition. Charlotte Brooks examines this change throughout 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 confounded 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 overlooked the lengthy backstory of chinese language and jap americans’ 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 wide variety of resources 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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Extra info for Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California
McGreevy, Matthew Frye Jacobson, and Russell Kazal have shown that southern and eastern European immigrants and their children used the Great Migration of African Americans to the urban North during the 1910s and 1920s to claim whiteness for themselves. ”31 But as Shah notes, this was a reconfirmation, not an innovation. The Chinese remained a potent symbol of unfair labor competition, low living standards, and racial difference long after many had left San Francisco for good. Lacking political power, Chinese immigrants had used the courts since the 1870s to fight immigration decisions as well as legislation meant Chinatown: America’s First Segregated Neighborhood 21 to curtail their economic rights.
27 Alfred Winn, a Virginian who came to California during the gold rush, founded the Native Sons in San Francisco in 1875 to keep alive the history and pioneering spirit of the forty-niners. 28 However, any man born in California, as long as he was wholly of European ancestry, could join the Native Sons. 29 In a period when native-born white Protestants often questioned southern and eastern European whiteness, the anti-Chinese thrust of San Francisco nativism automatically “whitened” European immigrants.
A 1939 housing survey reported that 4,787 of the 4,858 Chinese American–occupied dwellings in the city were in Chinatown, with the remaining 71 largely concentrated in a few low-rent areas south of Market Street. Almost all the isolated boarding houses and laundries in which Chinese outside of Chinatown had once lived were now gone, casualties of zoning ordinances and unrelenting anti-Chinese hostility. In 1940, Chinese Americans occupied 2,226 of the 2,246 total dwelling units (more than 99 percent) in census area A-14, the heart of Chinatown.
Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California by Charlotte Brooks