By Charlotte Brooks
Between the early 1900s and the overdue Fifties, the attitudes of white Californians towards their Asian American buddies advanced from outright hostility to relative reputation. 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 firstly stranded them in segregated components, ultimately facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that defied different minorities. opposed to the backdrop of chilly warfare efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who observed little distinction among Asians and Asian americans more and more recommended the latter group’s entry to middle-class lifestyles and the residential parts that went with it. yet as they reworked Asian americans right into a “model minority,” whites purposefully overlooked the lengthy backstory of chinese language and eastern 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 huge diversity of resources in a number of languages, giving voice to an array of group leaders, reporters, 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
White Californians’ nostalgia for the Chinese had similar implications, as a sociologist’s interview with a Central Valley farmer revealed. ” In reality, the first Chinese immigrants had been easier to “handle” because they lacked a strong homeland Chinatown: America’s First Segregated Neighborhood 37 government to protect them. 78 Many of the white tourists who flocked to Chinatown by the 1920s wanted to see a sanitized version of the “old type” Chinese, members of a supposedly ancient and backward race that posed no threat to white dominance.
Apartments for couples and families with children were usually the same cubicles that the “bachelor” men endured. 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.
59 Lost among a much larger Asian American population in a region with unique racial traditions, African Americans enjoyed far more residential mobility in San Francisco than either Chinese Americans or Japanese Americans. Their relative mobility set San Francisco apart from other American cities of the early twentieth century. 60 a new industry and a bad reputation In the late nineteenth century, white guides began taking visitors on “slumming” tours to see Chinatown’s poverty and supposed perversity.
Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California by Charlotte Brooks