您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 观点 >> 正文

美联航事件背后的美国特权文化

更新时间:2017-4-13 11:15:06 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

United Airlines Is Not Alone
美联航事件背后的美国特权文化

United Airlines found itself at the center of social media controversy this week, after a horrifying video of a doctor being forcibly removed from a coach class seat on one of its planes went viral. The man was, according to published reports, randomly selected to be bumped because the airline needed to transport four employees on the sold out flight. The doctor refused to leave, airline officials called law enforcement, and security dragged him, bloodied, off the plane.

本周,乘坐联合航空(United Airlines)航班的一名医生被强行从经济舱座位上拖走的可怕视频广为流传。随后,这家航空公司发现自己站在了一场社交媒体风暴的中心。现有的报道显示,由于联合航空的四名雇员要搭乘这趟机票已全部售出的航班,该男子被随机选中,为其腾出位置。这名医生拒绝离开,于是航空公司管理人员向执法部门求助,安保人员把受伤流血的他拖离了飞机。

It seemed, in the way these viral sensations frequently do, to capture something about the way we live now. All too often we feel powerless, both politically and economically. A 2015 Gallup poll found large majorities of Americans agreeing with statements like Congress “is out of touch with average Americans” and “focused on the needs of special interests.”

它似乎捕捉到了与我们当前的生活状态有关的某种东西,很多在网上疯传的东西常常都是如此。我们所有人都会太过频繁地产生无力感,不论是在政治上还是经济上。盖洛普(Gallup)2015年的一项民调显示,大多数美国人都同意国会“脱离了美国普通民众”、“只关注特殊利益群体的需要”之类的言论。

So what’s this got to do with United? Well, most of us don’t encounter the government on a daily basis. We do, however, live life as consumers. And our treatment is both increasingly disrespectful and reflective of our society’s growing income divide.

那么,这和联合航空有什么关系?要知道,我们大部分人并非每天都和政府打交道。但我们的确是以消费者的身份生活着。而我们正受到越来越无礼的对待,由此折射出社会上日益拉大的收入差距。

In 2017, it often seems that the customer is the least important part of the transaction — unless he or she is paying top, top dollar. Take medical care. While the wealthy can turn to the growing practice of concierge medicine, where for a fee of over a thousand dollars annually, their personal doctor will always return their calls promptly, the rest of us are ever more likely to be relegated to a narrow insurance network.

在2017年,消费者看上去常常是交易中最不重要的部分——除非他或她花了大价钱。以医疗服务为例。富人可以享有日益增多的礼宾式医疗服务——每年的费用在1000美元以上,他们的私人医生会迅速给他们回电话——我们其他人则更有可能被发配到一个狭小的医保网络中。

This great economic sort is on blatant display when we fly. The airlines are seemingly forever coming up with new and innovative ways to coddle an increasingly small group, while treating the majority of fliers with greater and greater contempt. United Airlines is all too typical. The airline recently debuted fold out beds for business travelers, complete with mood lighting, adjustable lumbar supports and bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue. But United’s coach class travelers are subjected to constant nickel and diming. Extra legroom is now an extra charge. So too, for travelers in the airline’s new “Basic Economy” fare class, is the ability to choose one’s seat when booking a flight or the ability to bring more than one small, personal tote or bag on the plane.

当我们乘坐飞机时,这种超乎寻常的经济排序会得到更加明目张胆地展示。航空公司似乎总能想出极富创意的新点子,去讨好人数越来越少的一群人,同时以越来越蔑视的态度对待大多数旅客。联合航空便是颇具代表性的一个。该公司最近新推出了面向商务仓旅客的折叠床,配有氛围灯、可调节的腰部支撑以及来自萨克斯第五大道百货(Saks Off Fifth)的床品。但联合航空面对经济舱旅客时却锱铢必较。现在,要获得额外的腿部空间,就得支付额外的费用。同样,该公司新推出的“基本经济舱”的旅客,要想获得在预定机票时选择座位的权利,或者在登机时随身多带一些行李,而不仅仅是一个小手提包或背包的权利,也得额外付费。

United’s initial apology for this most recent offense simply bolsters the case they are less than concerned with rank-and-file customers. The company — which reported $2.3 billion in net income last year — isn’t exactly issuing a heartfelt mea culpa. A spokesman told The New York Times, “we had asked several times, politely” for the man to leave his seat, as if that justified subsequent events. In a statement, Oscar Munoz, United’s chief executive officer, said he was sorry for “having to reaccommodate” the passenger and that the airline was working with authorities to find out what happened, but did not admit that allowing officers to physically manhandle a customer who was simply sitting in a coach seat hoping to get to his destination was, you know, wrong. A subsequent statement, issued on Tuesday, offered a much more full-throated apology.

联合航空起初就这一最新的冒犯之举做出的道歉,只不过表明他们丝毫不关心普通旅客。去年取得23亿美元净收入的这家公司,根本没有发自内心地自责。其发言人告诉《纽约时报》,“我们曾礼貌地问了好几次”,请那名男士离开座位,好像这样一来随后发生的一切就都合情合理了。联合航空首席执行官奥斯卡·穆尼奥斯(Oscar Munoz)在一份声明中表示,他对不得不“另行安排”这位乘客感到抱歉,公司正与当局合作,以便弄清到底发生了什么事。但要知道,他并未承认,允许安保人员以极为粗暴的方式对待经济舱座位上的一名只想抵达目的地的乘客是错误的。该公司在周二又发表了一份声明,做了更有力度的道歉。

The same dynamic plays out in our political lives. In a study published in 2014, Martin Gilens at Princeton University and Benjamin Page at Northwestern University found government policy and actions rarely reflected majority sentiment, but instead favored corporate interests and the wealthiest Americans. When congressional Republicans offered up a health insurance reform package earlier this year that would have covered fewer people than the Affordable Care Act, Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, initially defended it by claiming Americans needed to choose between spending on necessary medical care or buying an iPhone. Meantime, the fabled 1 percent would have received an average tax cut totaling $37,000 if the legislation were fully enacted.

同样的情况也存在于我们的政治生活之中。在发表于2014年的一篇论文中,普林斯顿大学(Princeton University)的马丁·吉伦斯(Martin Gilens)和西北大学(Northwestern University)的本杰明·佩奇(Benjamin Page)指出,政府的政策和行动很少反映大多数人的情绪,而是有利于增进企业的利益、倾向于照顾最富有的人。当共和党国会议员于今年初提出一项覆盖人群小于《合理医疗费用法案》( Affordable Care Act)的医保改革方案时,犹他州共和党众议员贾森·沙费特兹(Jason Chaffetz)一开始曾为其辩护,说美国人需要在为必要的医疗服务付费和购买一部iPhone之间做出选择。与此同时,如果这项法案得以完全实施,传说中最富有的1%人口将平均获得总计3.7万美元的税收减免。

Don’t mistake me. There are a lot of other things you can take away from this sorry event. There is the increased militarization of American life, with authorities reacting to common disputes in increasingly aggressive ways. There is a positive lesson, too, in that ordinary Americans have access to more potential publicity — and, hopefully, recourse — than ever before, courtesy of social media. Finally, there is a narrative of privilege at play. More than a few pointed out this contretemps would likely not have received as much attention if the unwilling passenger were poor or African-American. Others noted that the doctor, who is Asian-American, might have been treated differently by officers or airline staff if he were white.

别误解我的意思。对这一令人遗憾的事件,还可以有很多种解读。美国人的生活正变得越来越具有对抗性,当局正以越来越咄咄逼人的方式对普通的争议作出回应。也有积极的一面:得益于社交媒体的发展,美国寻常百姓有了比以往任何时候都多的发声和成功求助的机会。最后,一种关于特权的叙事正在展开。很多人都指出,如果不愿离开的乘客是穷人或非裔美国人,这一争端可能不会受到如此多的关注。另外一些人则指出,身为亚裔美国人的那名医生如果是白人,警员或航空公司员工对待他的方式可能会有所不同。

But this isn’t an either-or situation. Yes, we can tell people who perceive themselves as privileged to get used to the second-class treatment those poorer than them have been receiving for a long time. But it seems like a better bet, both ethically and for the sake of our futures, to improve conditions for all.

但这并不是非此即彼别无他择的情况。没错,我们可以告诉那些认为自己条件不错的人,要习惯于比他们贫穷的那些人长期以来都在忍受的二等公民待遇。但让所有人的待遇得到改善,不论从伦理上来说,还是为了我们的未来着想,似乎都是一个更好的选择。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表