关于在美华人权益保护的思考——之一 新移民


关于在美华人权益保护的思考——之一 新移民

关于在美华人权益保护的思考1 ——之一 新移民

A Personal Reflection on Chinese American Civil Right Advocacy – 1 The New Arrivals

高颖律师

Ying Gao, Esq., J.D.


加州大学Hasting法学院吴华扬教授(Frank Wu)在他最近的一篇文章(百人会吴华扬致老一辈美国亚裔社会活动家们的私人信函 —— 关于新移民)中提到了“新移民”,在华人社区引起各类反响。说实话,我个人并没有因他的文章感到需要生气,而是觉得很有意思,很能引发些思考。


我属于吴教授笔下的“新移民”。即便我不习惯穿戴bling bling(披金戴银),九年前初来乍到,也是从头到脚带着大陆生活思维习惯的全套家当来的。只是,我既没有以我有大陆妹的习性为耻,也不以此为傲。它们是我生命的一部分,随着我的生活境遇一起变化,仅此而已。


Professor Frank Wu from University of California, Hasting College of Law, mentioned “the new arrivals” in one of his recent articles. It caused minor earthquakes in some parts of the Chinese American Community. To be frank, no pun intended, I did not find his article offensive. Rather, I was amused and enjoyed this thought-provoking article. I am a “new arrival.” Although I could never see myself wrapped up in bling bling, when I was just “fresh off the boat” nine year ago, I carried with me every bit of “mainlanderness” I had collected and polished during my formative years. Yet, I have never been apologetic or proud of these traits – they are just part of me, and they have and will continue evolving with me.


我不知道吴教授笔下他的那些亚裔民权活动家老朋友们是谁。他们也许是移民很久了或者出生在美国的第一代到第N代,脱掉了那些会让他们在美国社会生活不自在的习惯。很可能,像我一类的新移民,三十年后也会跟他们一样,脱掉更多的从前的习惯2 。现在每隔个五年十年或更久以后,从其他地区来到美国的华人,也都会带着他们所处的环境的习惯到来,然后逐渐发生变化,或者拒绝变化(至少是试图拒绝变化)。而所有各个时期,各个不同国家、地区,带着各自不同文化和习俗来到美国的华人们,也在不断改变着美国华人群体和亚裔群体的基因


I am not sure if I know who these Asian Activist old friends of Professor Wu’s are. Maybe they are Chinese immigrants who have been here in the US for a long time, or persons of Chinese ancestry who were born here. They have somewhat shed off lots of cultural and habitual traits that they brought with them or brought by their ancestors. Who knows, perhaps thirty years later, the new arrivals like me will also grow out of many of our old habits. The same experience will happen to the Chinese folks who will arrive in 5 or 10 years, or many years later. One thing is certain: Some of us will welcome and embrace the changes, others may refuse to change, at least attempt to refuse. The amalgamation of many different generations, many sub-group of Chinese arrivals will continue to modify the DNA of Chinese American, and even Asian American in the US.


吴教授的文章是企图说服这些比我们新移民来的早的亚裔活动家们,劝告他们一定要团结我们,即便他们对我们有看法。如果真是想要老一代对我们有成见的亚裔活动家改变对我们新移民的看法,要团结和争取我们新移民,不妨请他们一起来坐坐,了解我们的经历,理解我们为什么会有现在的思维立场,也告诉我们他们曾经的故事,指导我们甚至带领我们一起解决遇到的权益保护问题,无论是新老移民所遭遇的。相互了解,精诚合作,这是消除隔阂的最好办法。


吴教授完全可以带领老一辈亚裔活动家们来跟我们做这些互动。但是,他选择了从文字上来做工作,斟词酌句,用了一堆对新移民来说读起来特别费劲的英文高阶词汇和句式,在一个全国性的媒体上,特别真诚连个折扣都不打的写了出来,大意为即便新移民是如此如此不怎么的,你们老一辈亚裔活动家们也不能只看到这些,你们要去团结他们。读完,我只能叹息,这么聪明的一个人,这么漂亮的文字,此文一出,他不被有些新移民砸鸡蛋西红柿,也要被当成猪一样的队友嘲笑几句。当然,结果大家都看到了。


Professor Wu intended to convince the older generation of Asian American Activists to work with us new arrivals despite our not-so-great traits on civil rights advocacy. If the ultimate goal is to help them to change their view on us and work with us,  I would suggest that Professor Wu should invite these friends to sit down with us, listening to our experiences and our thought process, and telling us theirs. We will be open to their advice on how to engage in the cause, and we will be even thrilled to be guided by them or led by them to try our hands in defending the civil liberty of Chinese Americans, whether for the long-time Chinese Americans or the new arrivals.


Professor Wu could have initiated such a project to bring us together. Unfortunately, he picked a different route: a beautiful article with well-crafted sentences and carefully chosen words and phrases that us new arrivals most likely would have difficulty to comprehend and even misunderstand, published in a national media. I do not doubt he sincerely believed that he was making a pitch to his fellow Asian American activist friends and it resonated with them by enumerating our freshoff-the-boat traits that they might detest. But I doubt that Professor Wu ever anticipated the backlash against this article from parts of the new-arrival community. While I believe that Professor Wu is brilliant, this well-written article could cause him to be treated either as a well-meaning but inept ally in the civil right advocacy for Chinese Americans, or worse, as a deriding and condescending cousin that we all hate. Well, we all know the result.


无论吴教授的文章被如何解读,他提出的问题是非常实际和要紧的。如何来团结美国华人这个群体,获得最佳的权益维护结果。实际生活中,我们把自己分成各种各类的:同乡会分地区;饮食分川鲁粤淮扬;国家地区港澳台、大陆、东南亚;数数字还有移民第一代,第二代,第一点五代。最近这届总统竞选以后,更还有希粉川粉之别。这是很正常的人类的习惯,乡音听来就是亲切,家乡菜就是可口,相近的政治观点就是听来入耳。


可是,在其他族裔的美国人眼里,他们只看到一种:美国华人。也许有时他们会根据英文水平和对美国文化的认同程度做些小的认识调整,但整体上就是一类。任何华人权益的保护或者侵害,可能会惠及或者波及到我们部分或者整个群体。


Regardless how one reads Professor Wu’s article, he brought up for us a crucial and practical problem. How do we unite the Chinese American community to make it most effective in protecting Chinese American civil rights as a group? We like to divide ourselves into various groups: country and region, geographical location within a country, language, food, whether born and/or grown up in the US.


And during the Presidential Election in 2016, an additional division by the presidential candidates surfaced, which lasted till now and will probably continue during President Trump’s presidency. There is nothing wrong about grouping ourselves. It is human nature that we like to listen to our own dialect, eat our hometown dishes, and spend time with those who share our political views.


However, to the rest of the US society, we are all Chinese Americans. Maybe sometimes they will notice our English proficiency level, our knowledge and compliance with American culture, and make some adjustment in their understanding to reach a conclusion that we must be a sub-group of Chinese American. The reality is that when a Chinese American individual benefits from civil rights protection, or suffers from civil rights violation, some or all of us Chinese Americans may be affected.


而最坏假设,当因为中美军事摩擦或者其他什么问题,美国社会全体性的产生过激反在美华人的情绪,在美国这一条船上的,谁也不能完全逃脱。 作为新移民,也许我们讲英文还带着我们的乡音,也许我们有时说话会有些大声,也许我们的穿戴有时看起来会有些奇怪,也许我们吃饭时候忘不了“老干妈”,美国已经成为了我们生命的一部分,而我们也是美国的一部分。我们已经在这条船上了。我们必须为自己美国的权益做努力。


作为新移民,我们有我们的优势,同时也有不足。或许,我们觉得不依靠老一辈亚裔活动家也能做好华人权益维护的工作。但是,我们最大的优点是务实,当通过虚心向老一辈亚裔活动家吸取他们的经验,利用他们通过多年努力建立起的与美国地方、州、和联邦的沟通桥梁,可以缩短我们的学习周期,少走弯路,更好的做好在美华人权益的维护工作,何乐而不为呢?


Wait! What if the US society overreacts to some Sino-US military conflict or what not, and that creates an anti-Chinese/anti-Chinese American sentiment? Then none of us can escape the discrimination and persecution associated with it. As new arrivals, it is true that the marks left on us from our prior experience in the home country can still be spotted: we may still speak English with an accent, we may get loud when we talk, dress a little differently, or we love to have some special chili sauce when we eat. But it is equally true, if not more so, that the US has become a part of our lives, and we have also become an integral part of the US. We are on this boat and we must advocate for our civil rights in the US.


As new arrivals, we have our own strengths and weaknesses. Maybe we feel that we can succeed in advocating for the rights of Chinese Americans without the help from Professor Wu’s Asian American activist friends. But, it is in our best interest to work with them, to learn from their wealth of experience, and to take advantage of the communication channels they have established with the local, state, and federal institutions at great cost. Being pragmatic as we are, there is no reason for us not take the shortcut and learn from the lessons that they have learned over a long period of hard work.  


吴教授,尽管您后来写了一篇文章来解释,估计今后一段时间里头,我们还会拿来逗您,请您做好心理准备。同时,请您继续为我们新移民奔走呐喊,在美华人维权的事业,需要所有华人的齐心协力。


Professor Wu, we may still tease you for a while about this article, despite of your subsequent explaining note. So be prepared. Meanwhile, please continue the great work you have been doing for us new arrivals. Chinese American civil rights advocacy is a tremendous cause. None of us could afford to go on the journey all alone.




注:

1 特地中英文对照的来写,英文和中文有些地方因为做了意译不是直译,所以辞藻上会有一些不同。This article is written both in Chinese and English for readers who have some level of Chinese. Certain phrases are expressed differently in English version comparing to its Chinese counterpart when it is better to translate the meaning of the Chinese phrases rather than translate verbatim and cause confusion.


2 拒绝改掉在家里“刺溜”吃面条的习惯,因为不出声绝对不过瘾,犹如隔靴挠痒。I will NOT to give up sucking and smacking while eating soup noodles at home. It is about an experience of levitation.


附吴华扬教授的两篇文章:

百人会吴华扬致老一辈美国亚裔社会活动家们的私人信函 —— 关于新移民

吴华扬:致新移民的一封公开信


作者:高颖

本文首发于“美国华人”公众号(ID: ChineseAmericans)

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