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


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


编者按

日前,吴华扬(Frank Wu)教授在The Huffington Post上的一篇文章引起了华人社区的广泛讨论。这篇文章本身是吴教授写给老一辈华人社区领袖的一封私人信函,其中分享了他对于新移民的一些认知,他希望老侨改变对新侨的固有成见,团结新移民。


鉴于目前此文已经引起了很大的争议,为了帮助读者更好地了解文章的本意,吴华扬教授和殷余民先生为我们提供了中文译文。请读者读完中英文全文后自行做出判断,并欢迎您留言写下您的感想和意见。


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(原作)殷余民(中文编辑)


这封信是写给你们,我多年的朋友,不仅仅是在争取公民权利方面、而且在所有进步事业中将美国亚裔包括在内的社会活动家们。我在与你们共事的过程中明白,要说服美国非裔、拉美裔、犹太人和其他致力于社会正义的人士,他们的原则同样适用于亚洲移民以及他们生长于美国的子孙,并非易事。 有些人表示怀疑,有些则怀有敌意。 然而,我致信你们,表达一种不同的忧虑。这一看法同样敏感,但更为严重的是,它可能是你们在建设沟通桥梁的工作中潜在的障碍。它甚至可能意味着这一事业的终结。

我的看法如下。来自亚洲的最新一批新移民,特别是来自中国的新移民,并不完全认同我们的理念。我恳求你们与他们接触,带着敬意聆听他们,并努力说服他们。这要求你,也包括我,不要以为他们需要被我们说教,就好像我们是自封的导师,而他们就是永久的学生。他们不会同意,因为他们已经有了太多这样的经历。

无论我在何地遇到他们,在南加州郊区、旧金山西郊的“购物大街、硅谷、东海岸、或者在以前几乎没有亚洲面孔的地方似乎一夜之间冒出来的社区,他们都会抱怨,他们感觉失落。我熟悉这种情绪的来源:那些真实存在的历史上的排外,那些可以看到的持续的对平等的剥夺。

令我担心的问题是这样 虽然我对于提及此事有些犹豫不决,但等待只会使情况变得更糟 他们(中的一些人)似乎对亚裔美国人(老华侨),那些以这个称呼自居的和那些更加同化的人,感到愤怒,正如他们对于一些白人和黑人态度。有人这样告诉我。

(他们中的一些人认为)我们不代表他们,我们不同情他们。我们背叛了他们。我们甚至不能用他们视为共同的语言来沟通。在国语(mandarin)中,“国语”这个词就是全国的语言的意思 尽管我被告知他们有时会喜欢用自己的方言,比如台山话。

最大的讽刺总是来自于镜子里的倒影。对我们来说,他们非常亚洲。对他们来说,我们非常美国。我们不属于彼此,等待孩子长大并不能解决问题。(是的,你们中不止一个人这样说,而只有少数人当作笑话。)

事实上我们的确不同,他们来自一个上升中的亚洲。因为技术的发展,他们可以继续与祖国保持联系。他们的自我认同,同我们的先辈一样,不是亚洲,而是他们的种族、家族、地方、宗教和环境。他们是有自己特色的美国人。

我们于他们而言是外国人,他们于我们亦如此,尽管亚裔之外的人说,我们看起来都一样。 而且,他们知道我们的居高临下,即使我们否认这一点。如同其他各种肤色和信仰的群体一样,那些已经安定下来的人,即使只是稍早一点,毫无例外总是暗示他们比他们的乡下亲戚更好,刚下船是丢脸的。有些人总是对(新移民带有)负面的刻板印象:喜欢炫耀,却不去排队;抠鼻子,吐痰,不良驾驶,消极对抗,幸好(他们)不吃狗肉。

我不想质疑你们的看法,你们私下向我解释过你们的担心,对此我并不反对。我们的某些亲友,在这里出现的远亲们,(想法似乎)令人惊奇。他们不相信民主,他们相信自己比其他人种更好,这一点如此明显,几乎不用指出。他们甚至毫不掩饰地认定,他们将超越白人。按照我们的标准,他们还可能是腐败份子。

他们(新移民)相信自己,他们不甘于劣势。恰恰相反,他们(中的一些人)很具有攻击性,有别于亚洲人的刻板印象。在很多问题中,从高等教育的多样性,到非法移民,到同性恋变性人权利,到警察暴行,到体罚,到死刑,他们准备以标志性的亚洲面孔,出现在你们组织的任何抗议活动的对立面。即使在环境问题上,他们感到对鱼翅或濒危物种的保护会影响他们享受山珍海味。出乎意料的是,他们口音并没有阻碍他们的表达。

我听说过,一些亚裔美国人(老华侨)在敦促公民参与时,发现自己被一些站起来发声的亚洲新移民包围,但是他们是为他们自己发声,成为老华侨的对手的一员。如果你们(老华侨)指出他们被作为棋子利用,他们(中的某些人)只会更加愤怒,他们感觉到你们的尴尬,他们为了生存而只顾自己。

即便如此,我还是要提出两个令人信服的理由,我确信我们应该去拥抱和接纳他们。

第一是我们所说的维持联盟的重要性。我们为一席之地而奋斗。如果我们不能全心全意地地欢迎那些跟我们长相一样的人,那将是大错特错。我们也要给他们空间,否则我们就是伪君子。如果我们不让步,我们将被抛在一边。所有人都应该有(自己的成长)空间,至少我们是这样宣称的。

第二个理由是战略性的。他们(新移民)比我们更加众多。他们不断进来,大多数亚裔美国人出生在国外,而不是本地。至少在我们的有生之年,移民模式确保这种人口增长趋势对他们有利。如果我们不赢得他们,或与他们结盟,他们将在数字上超越我们,使我们在政治上无足轻重。

如果老华侨想要亚裔美国人的概念持续到下一代,我们必须弄清楚如何与所有属于这一个弱势类别的人们交往。我们必须团结一致,则,坦率的说,我们的事业将会失败。


我们可以有分歧,但是我们必须团结!


(2017年3月21日)


附:英文原文

(点击本文底部的“阅读原文Read more”会跳转到The Huffington Post原文)

A Private Note to Asian American Activists about New Arrivals

Frank H. Wu

Distinguished Professor, University of California Hastings College of the Law

Chair, Committee of 100

03/18/2017 08:57 am ET | Updated 03/20/2017 06:00pm ET


I write to you as my long-time friends, those who have fought not only for civil rights but also to include Asian Americans in all progressive causes. I know from working alongside you that it has not been easy to persuade African Americans, Latinos, Jews, and others who have been dedicated to social justice that their principles extend to Asian immigrants and their American-born children and grandchildren. Some have been skeptical, others hostile. Yet I send you a note now to express a different concern. It is as sensitive if not more so, but it also is even more serious a potential barrier to your bridge building efforts. It could signal the end of the project altogether.

Here it is. The most recent set of newcomers from Asia, in particular those arriving from China, do not share our commitments. I implore you to reach out, to listen to them respectfully, and to try to persuade them. That requires that you — and I — not assume they need educating by us, as if we were self-appointed teachers, they permanently students. They will have none of that. They have experienced it enough.

Everywhere I encounter them, whether in suburban Southern California; the “Avenues” of western San Francisco; Silicon Valley; on the East Coast; or in communities that have developed seemingly overnight where there once were virtually no Asian faces to be seen, they complain. They are frustrated. I am familiar with the source of that sentiment: the literal historic exclusion and the tangible ongoing denial of equality.

But here is what worries me. While I have hesitated to call out the problem, waiting makes it worse. They seem to be as angry about Asian Americans, those who call themselves by that name and who are more assimilated, as they are about whites and blacks. They tell me so.

We do not represent them, We are not sympathetic to them. We have betrayed them. We cannot even communicate in the language they deem ours. One of the common words for “Mandarin” in Mandarin itself translates as “the national language” — though I am advised they’d prefer a dialect such as Toisan in any event.

The greatest ironies are always in the mirror image. To us, they are very Asian. To them, we are very American. We are not quite one another’s people. Waiting for the kids to grow up won’t work. (Yes, more than one of you has said that, only partly in jest.)

The truth is we are different. They come from an ascendant Asia. They can continue to maintain contacts with “the homeland,” thanks to technology. They identify, as our forebears did, not as “Asian,” but by their ethnicity, clan, province, religion, and circumstances. They are American on their own terms.

We are as foreign to them as they are to us, despite others telling us we all look alike. And they are aware of our condescension, even if we would deny it. As with other groups of every color and creed, those who settled, if only slightly earlier, invariably imply they are better than their country cousins. As much as the phrase is appropriated and ironic, even hip, there is a stigma to being “fresh off the boat.” The stereotype is repeated: too much bling, not enough lining up in an orderly manner; nose-picking, spitting, bad driving, passive-aggressive conduct, and, let us hope, at least no dog-eating.

I do not doubt, and you have explained to me privately your concerns with which I do not disagree. Some of our cousins, distant kin who have shown up here, are alarming. They are bigots who do not care about democracy. They believe themselves to be better than other people of color, it hardly is worth pointing out since it is so obvious. They even suppose, not all that secretly, that they will surpass whites. They also might be corrupt albeit by our standards. There is no telling.

They are only starting to assert themselves. They do not claim disadvantage. Just the opposite. They attack, as Asians are not stereotyped for doing. On issue after issue, ranging from diversity in higher education to “illegal” immigration to LGBT rights to police brutality to corporal punishment to capital punishment, they are prepared to line up as a token Asian face on the other side of whatever protest you are organizing. Even on the environment, they feel persecuted for their taste for shark fin soup or exotic delicacies involving endangered species. And good for them. Their accent does not hold them back.

I have heard Asian Americans who have urged civic engagement lament that they find themselves surrounded by Asians who will stand up and speak out, albeit for themselves. A mascot for your opponent, they will be only more infuriated if you suggest they are pawns being used. They sense your embarrassment. They are self-serving for survival.

Be that as it may, I offer two reasons that are compelling enough. I am convinced anyway, to embrace them. It need not be “us” versus “them,” especially since others cannot distinguish.

The first reason is what we say. We talk about how important it is to sustain coalitions. We fought for a “seat at the table.” It would be wrong for us to be any less than wholeheartedly welcoming to those who look like us. We have to give them space too. We would be hypocrites otherwise. If we do not yield, we will be shoved aside. There is room for all, or so we ourselves proclaim.

The second reason is strategic. There are more of them than there are of us. They keep coming. The majority of Asian Americans are foreign-born, not native born. Immigration patterns ensure that this demographic balance of power will favor the former over the latter, at least for our lifetimes. If we do not win them over, or ally with them, they will overtake us numerically and render us irrelevant politically.

If Asian Americans want the concept of “Asian American” to last another generation, we must figure out how to engage with all who belong to an artificial, fragile category. The failure of the movement will be “on us,” to use the vernacular we must speak.

We must come together.

作者:吴华扬 (Frank Wu)


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

作者简介:吴华扬(Frank Wu),法学教授、作家、社会活动人士。美国加州大学黑斯汀法学院教授, 美国百人会(Committee of 100)现任会长。他加入百人会已有15年,长期参与华人社区服务,曾帮助主办为华裔科学家陈霞芬女士维权的北加州筹款活动,以及为俄州华人协会(OCAA)举办的陈霞芬听证会的集会活动提供法律援助。


他的著作有:《黄种人:美国黑种人和白种人之外的种族》(Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White)和《种族、权利和赔偿:法律和日裔美国人拘禁》(Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment)(合著)等。



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