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SING SHEN VS. SOUTHWOOD

C. BROOKS
Pacific Historical Review
Vol. 73, No. 3 (August 2004), pp. 463-494
DOI: 10.1525/phr.2004.73.3.463
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/phr.2004.73.3.463
Page Count: 32
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SING 
SHEN VS. SOUTHWOOD
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Abstract

In 1952 Chinese immigrant Sing Sheng encountered racial discrimination when he tried to purchase a home in the all-white South San Francisco housing tract of Southwood. Sheng, believing that racism could not be the majority sentiment in a democracy, asked white Southwood residents to vote to accept or reject his family. The Shengs lost the unof�cial referendum, but it became national news and created immense sympathy for the family. Many white Americans claimed that housing discrimination against Asian Americans could in�uence Asian nations to reject democracy and embrace communism. The Sheng affair and similar incidents demonstrate that the Cold War improved housing opportunities for California's Asian Americans, even though many whites perceived them as foreign and continued to discriminate against blacks and Mexican Americans.

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