By Charlotte Brooks
Among the early 1900s and the overdue Nineteen Fifties, the attitudes of white Californians towards their Asian American acquaintances advanced from outright hostility to relative recognition. Charlotte Brooks examines this modification in the course of the lens of California’s city housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian americans, which at first stranded them in segregated parts, finally facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that defied different minorities.Against 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 encouraged 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 neglected the lengthy backstory of chinese language and jap american citizens’ early and mostly failed makes an attempt to take part in private and non-private housing courses. As Brooks tells this multifaceted tale, she attracts on a vast diversity 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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Extra info for Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California (Historical Studies of Urban America)
41 Although the anti-Chinese violence and rhetoric so routine before the earthquake ebbed in the years after the catastrophe, observers and civic leaders still claimed that the Chinese preferred living in dirty, cramped spaces. These arguments had always been a staple of campaigns to extend Chinese exclusion, unite white workers against “Asiatic” labor and living standards, and paint the Chinese as subhuman. ” A year later, Chinatown visitor Sue Sanders demonstrated how such stereotypes became “common sense” to whites in the city: “We [saw] .
Years later, a Chinese American man recalled with anger the way some Chinatown residents collaborated with the worst white guides. “I know there was a man on Jackson Street who lived in a dirty house with sand and mud floors and never took a bath in all his life,” he said. ”64 Still, Chinese American merchants began to make headway in part by cooperating with the least offensive guides and providing their own tours of Chinatown. In 1909, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association published a guidebook that provided a list of less exploitative white guides by name and badge number whom the organization deemed acceptable.
Politicians, social scientists, and numerous other Americans of northern and western European ancestry questioned the whiteness of the newcomers, calling them unfit for American citizenship and arguing that they would weaken America’s genetic stock. Critics also worried about admitting so many Catholics and Jews into the United States. These kinds of ideas, however, attracted relatively few followers in San Francisco. 24 During the 1890s alone, voters elected both a Catholic mayor (James D. Phelan) and a Jewish one (Adolph Sutro).
Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California (Historical Studies of Urban America) by Charlotte Brooks