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李孝如:华裔精英看不起新移民,可新移民并不在意

2017-04-10 08:02:10

不管在哪个时期,不管在什么场合,礼仪都是非常重要的,对“立足美国,追求卓越与成就”的美国华人精英组织“百人会”来说更是如此。

前不久,“百人会”会长吴华扬教授在《赫芬顿邮报》上发表了一片题为《关于新移民——给美国亚裔活动家的一封私信》的文章。“百人会”会员们既然都有极高的教育水平和社会地位,自然明白谨言慎行的道理,因此我不愿带着情绪对吴教授的“公开私信”加以驳斥。

吴华扬教授文章

吴教授的文章反映出他对1980年代以后赴美的中国移民存在极大的误解,他居高临下地在“我们”和“他们”——即美国本土华裔精英和政治思想“未开化”的中国暴发户——之间划了一条刺眼的分隔线。华人新移民对特朗普鼎力支持,令传统华裔精英始料未及且无法理解,究其原因乃是两个群体之间的联系过于单薄。

新移民们深受共和党的话语吸引,因为它强调个人责任和勤奋工作的重要性。与美国许多少数族裔一样,他们也对种族歧视有着切身感受,但从不让此类负面经历动摇自己在新社会环境里出人头地的决心。他们来自社会主义国家,却不习惯依赖社会福利,更不同情靠政府“供养”的群体,因此有时稍显缺乏仁善之心,但这却是他们的真情实感。其实换在30年前,这也是美国人的主流观念。去年,华人新移民把选票投给了特朗普;未来,他们还会投票给支持财政保守主义的类似候选人。

华人新移民难以与其他“弱势”群体紧密团结在一起,不是因为他们顽固不化、心怀恶意,而是因为他们不把自己看作弱势群体。他们当中的大多数人对美国提供的经济和教育机会心怀感激。

但无可否认的是,新华人移民与其他少数族裔确实在某些利益上无法取得一致。例如美国顶级名校在招生时,华裔学生往往处于不利位置,“看不见的天花板”无处不在,使许多华人感到心寒。一方面优秀的华裔学生被名校拒之门外,另一方面其他族裔的学生哪怕成绩较差,校方也会出于“多样化”的考虑吸收他们入学。

许多华裔学生的家长认为,正是“多样化”使他们子女的合理权利遭到剥夺,因此这个词在华裔社群中的污名化并不足为奇。奇怪的是,如此明显的歧视现象,“百人会”却从未将其纳入据理力争的议题,不免显得失之虚伪。如果“百人会”真想为所有美国华人争取社会地位,保障受教育的权利将是一个良好的开端。华裔精英们应当鼓励华人社群奋起维权,而不是划出一条防疫封锁线,把新移民隔离在外边。

如果美国亚裔社会活动人士迫切地想把初来乍到的同胞改造成“真正”的美国人,就应该从历史中汲取经验。在过去的150年里,中国经历了太多战争、饥荒、贫穷、动乱,成为了许多早期移民的伤心地。他们远渡重洋来到美国,彻底融入新的国家是唯一的选择;随着美中数十年交恶,许多人在不知不觉间断绝了与故国的一切联系。

对1980年代以后赴美的新移民而言,他们的政治和文化经历与老一辈华人移民截然不同。新移民心中所属的祖国,已经不再是他们祖辈的那个祖国。中国即使有再多缺点和不足,仍然处于国力回升阶段,民族自豪感使许多新移民愿意维护自己的祖国——哪怕他们已经离开,哪怕它有时略显刚愎自用。出于各种原因,新移民与中国保持着情感联系,他们与国内各地亲友们也有密切往来。

在美国政治语境下,泛亚裔是个被主流社会高度同化的少数群体,但华人新移民却无意迈入这个“大家庭”的门槛。他们或许眼界失于狭隘,或许个人习惯不佳,损害了您这样早期移民的华裔精英为美国上层社会苦心经营的模范形象。虽然华裔精英努力试图帮助新移民变得更加“美国化”,但这两个群体本不相同,后者也不期待变成前者。

在大多数美国人的观念里,美国华裔温顺守法,不喜与人争执。喧闹的新移民则完全是另一个物种,他们将在人数上超过说英语的老移民。随着中国政治和军事实力的崛起,他们的声音将变得更响亮,他们的行为变得更加主流。

新移民来自各种各样的背景,他们有着强烈的民族情感和地方自豪感,争强好胜,拒绝美国讲究“政治正确”的文化,势必导致新老华人移民内部产生摩擦和对抗。但总的来说,他们的声音早晚会成为美国华人主流,逐渐取代“百人会”等老一代华人移民组织。

他们不只将争取所谓的“一席之地”,他们要建立自己的地位。不管你欢不欢迎,这一天都必然会到来。

(观察者网杨晗轶译自《赫芬顿邮报》,翻页阅读英文原文:)

New Chinese Immigrants Are Different From Chinese Americans And Proud Of It

Etiquette is at all times and places important, yet perhaps particularly so in the rarefied society peopled by the Committee of 100, a group of Chinese Americans “dedicated to the spirit of excellence and achievement in America.”

Professor Frank Wu, the chairman, recently wrote an article titled “Private Note To Asian-American Activists About New Arrivals,” which ran in The Huffington Post. In light of the reserve and temperance conferred on committee members by their sterling educations and social standing, I shall eschew anything like the emotive rebuttal that Wu’s very un-private note provokes.

The note’s profound misunderstanding of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. since 1980 demonstrates a condescension that establishes a neon distinction between “us” and “them” — the incumbent Chinese-American elite and hordes of politically unenlightened diaspora upstarts. The Chinese-American elite were appalled by the watershed of support for Donald Trump among new Chinese arrivals. The failure to foresee and understand this support arises from their weak connection to the newcomers.

Recent immigrants are drawn to Republican Party rhetoric of individual responsibility and commitment to hard work. Like many minorities in the U.S., they have experienced racial discrimination but have not permitted it to cripple their determination to succeed and excel in a new society. Coming from a socialist country, they are ironically unaccustomed to social welfare and have little sympathy for those who depend on government “handouts.” This stance may be uncharitable, but it is nonetheless what they feel and, in fact, not so far removed from the sentiment of a majority of American citizens as recently as 30 years ago. The new arrivals voted for Trump and will continue to vote for Trump equivalents, as long as such candidates espouse fiscally conservative platforms.

New Chinese arrivals do not feel solidarity with disadvantaged groups not because they are bigoted but because they do not consider themselves disadvantaged. Most are pleased to have a chance to pursue the economic and educational paths the U.S. offers.

Undeniably, they have sometimes found that their interests are misaligned with those of other ethnic minorities. For example, many Chinese have found repugnant the unacknowledged but ubiquitous glass ceiling confronting Chinese applicants to top universities. Qualified applicants of Chinese ethnicity are denied entry, while underperforming applicants of other ethnic groups gain admission on the grounds of “diversity.”

It is small wonder that this mystical euphemism ― “diversity” ― has become a dirty word among many aggrieved Chinese parents, who feel it denies their children a rightful place at American universities. It is odd and more than a touch hypocritical that such squarely discriminatory issues have never been the remit of the Committee of 100. Were the committee genuinely interested in gaining a seat at the table for all Chinese in America, here would be a good place to start. The Chinese-American elite should galvanize our community rather than erecting a cordon sanitaire around a group of new Americans.

To any “Asian-American activists,” fretting over how to transform their newly arrived brethren into “real” Americans, a brief review of history may be handy. Broadly speaking, war, famine, dismal economic prospects and political upheavals over the course of a century and a half marked China as a place of only grief and sorrow and drove early Chinese immigration to the U.S. Full assimilation in the new country was the only option; many severed ties with the old country unwittingly, due to decades of enmity between the U.S. and communist China.

The political and cultural experience of new arrivals since the early 1980s, however, differs tremendously from that of earlier immigrants. The China with which the new immigrants identify is quite a difference place ― literally, not your grandfather’s China. In spite of its numerous flaws, China has been on an upswing and many new arrivals find themselves to be robust apologists for China ― yes, the same place from which they upped and left ― and its sometimes wayward behavior. They continue to be connected to the old country for a variety of reasons, and provincial, regional and city ties remain strong.

These recent immigrants do not seek membership in the highly assimilated pan-Asian fraternity as defined by American political parlance. Their parochialism and sometimes less-than-refined personal habits affront the carefully constructed model minority image that the Chinese-American elite have shown to American elite. Despite the Chinese-American elite’s most assiduous efforts to bring them round ― to assist them in becoming more “American” ― they are different from these elites and they do not aspire to become more like them.

Chinese Americans have been perceived by many white Americans as a docile, law-abiding and non-contentious group. The boisterous new diaspora from the People’s Republic of China are a different breed and will outnumber Anglophone Chinese Americans. Their voices will become louder and their behavior more prominent, as their home country becomes politically and militarily more powerful.

Moreover, hailing from diverse Chinese communities worldwide, their nationalism and regionalism, fierce competitive habits and rejection of a culture of political correctness will generate plenty of friction and rivalry. The overarching reality is that they will sooner or later become the de facto Chinese voices in the U.S., at the expense of the incumbent Chinese-American organizations.

They will do more than compete for a seat at the proverbial table. They want their own table. Whether or not I welcome this eventuality, I do not doubt its inevitability.

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李孝如

李孝如

金杜律师事务所中国分所合伙人

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来源:观察者网 | 责任编辑:杨晗轶
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