Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, by Charlotte Brooks

By Charlotte Brooks

Between the early 1900s and the past due Fifties, the attitudes of white Californians towards their Asian American acquaintances developed from outright hostility to relative attractiveness. 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 parts, finally facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that defied different minorities. opposed to the backdrop of chilly struggle efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who observed little distinction among Asians and Asian american citizens more and more recommended the latter group’s entry to middle-class existence and the residential components that went with it. yet as they reworked Asian americans right into a “model minority,” whites purposefully neglected the lengthy backstory of chinese language and jap 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 extensive variety of assets 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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Extra resources for Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California

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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. In adjacent A15, Chinese occupied 836 of the total 927 dwelling units, or more than 90 percent. Census tract A-13 combined Chinatown with part of North Beach, a white neighborhood with a large Italian American population.

Hart in the Grizzly Bear, the magazine of the Native Sons. ” While most Japanese came to California to farm, union leaders called all of them “cheap” laborers who would undermine white wages. 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.

Party founder Dennis Kearney, an Irish immigrant turned demagogue, skillfully channeled the anger of the unemployed white men who gathered in San Francisco’s vacant lots to hear his harangues. Contending that the city’s rich capitalists used Chinese to drive white men’s wages down to starvation levels, Kearney urged his listeners to burn Chinatown to the ground. 20 In 1882, California legislators helped convince their colleagues in Congress to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited the entry of Chinese laborers into the United States for ten years.

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