These Official San Francisco Italian Flags Tell Chinatown to Stay the Hell Out of North Beach

One thing that me and our local real estate cabal agree upon is the sanctity of Broadway as a neighborhood dividing line on the east si-iiiide of San Francisco. We would never consider any area above B’Way as being a part of Chinatown, right? But Chinese/Asian businesses started a foothold in North Beach back in the day and some people didn’t like it, not one bit.

So, these Italian light pole flags started going up a few decades back as a response to the encroachment, the Asian Invasion. See?

I’ll tell you, a person who didn’t cotton to these flags was furniture store owner Ed Yee. You see, he preferred American flags. Read all about his campaign against colori italiani in this bit by Ilene Lelchuk from all the way back in aught-two. Ed’s windmill-tilting even made the Fox News back then.

But, after some blowback from people like Louis Calabro of the “European American Issues Forum,” Ed got fined and, well, nowadays, it looks like his campaign to put up American flags on the Italian poles has ended. Oh well.

Click to expand

Back in the day, back in the 1800′s, people in North Beach would throw rocks at Chinese and Chinese Americans who ventured north of Broadway. These days, we “defend” the Italian-ness, the whiteness of North Beach in a different way.

O.K. fine.

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5 Responses to “These Official San Francisco Italian Flags Tell Chinatown to Stay the Hell Out of North Beach”

  1. sfnative says:

    I wouldn’t dismiss the animosity towards and threat to life and limb for Chinese and Chinese Americans to “back in the day, back in the 1800′s” only. The situation did not change through the Depression and WWII, until the early 1950′s. Even then, it wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did true integration take place. Many still resent it to this day.

  2. sfnative says:

    To clarify: I wouldn’t dismiss the animosity towards and threat to life and limb for Chinese and Chinese-Americans by Italians, Italian-Americans and others in North Beach to “back in the day, back in the 1800′s” only. Crossing Broadway was no simple matter. The situation did not change through the Depression and WWII, until the early 1950′s. Even then, it wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did true integration take place. Many still resent it to this day.

  3. The conflation of “whiteness” and Italian-Americans would be hilarious, were its inclusion here not so ignorant and its actual history not so sad.

    Italian-Americans have been considered white only recently, while for most of their history in the United States — including San Francisco — they have been discriminated against, reviled, stereotyped and victimized. There even were internment camps for Italians in parts of the United States in World War II.

    Most of these racist affronts certainly were much worse for the Chinese than for the Italians (the travails of Ellis Island immigrants pale in comparison to what Chinese immigrants went through at Angel Island, for instance), but it does no one any service to forget what Italian-Americans suffered before they ceased to be thought of as unwelcome “others.”

  4. mikesonn says:

    Isn’t this store front actually on Upper Grant?

    Yuup, no need to worry about Chinatown encroachment up there. The real battle line is Stockton from Green to Vallejo.

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=37.800968,-122.407651&spn=0,0.022466&z=16&layer=c&cbll=37.801059,-122.407668&panoid=A3VH7zqmsBb9njcln1dJzw&cbp=12,37.71,,0,14.1

  5. [...] on the “Italian” neighborhood. Anyway, the Italians in North Beach are still trying to keep the Chinese out. Also: the Excelsior is now Chinese and [...]