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兄弟会虐死案背后(三):被修正的美国梦

更新时间:2017-8-13 9:38:13 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity
兄弟会虐死案背后(三):被修正的美国梦

The second court date for the brothers of Pi Delta Psi was held in late November 2015, in the big courthouse in Stroudsburg, a 25-­minute drive from Pocono Pines. Kwan, Lam and Wong all wore what looked like the same suits they wore one month before and came accompanied by the same fidgeting chorus of lawyers. Charles Lai showed up a little bit later in prison grays and handcuffs: His family had not been able to come up with bail. He nodded almost officiously at his brothers, as if to apologize, but spent the first part of the proceedings staring intently at a far wall. A police officer testified about the cover-­up, the lawyers filed some motions and then the prosecutor’s office called Daniel Li, now the former president of Pi Delta Psi at Baruch, to the stand. Over the course of a halting, agonizing hour of testimony, Li said he had seen Lam, Lai and Kwan tackle Deng in succession, leaving him unconscious after the last hit. While everyone was trying to figure out what to do, Li said, he had gone to sleep and missed the entire cover-­up.

2015年11月末,派-德尔塔-普赛(Pi Delta Psi)兄弟会成员的第二个开庭日在距孛可诺松林区(Pocono Pines)25分钟车程的斯特劳兹堡(Stroudsburg)举行。关、林、王三人都穿着似乎是一个月前穿的西装,陪伴他们的是同样坐立不安的律师团队。不久后,穿着监狱灰色衣服、戴着手铐的查尔斯·黎(Charles Lai)出现了:他的家人没能成功将他保释。他几乎有些过分殷勤地对兄弟们点了点头,似乎是想表示歉意,但他在诉讼过程的开始一直都只是专心地盯着远处的墙。一名警官对他们掩盖证据的罪行作证,律师团队提交了几项动议,随后检察官办公室让现已是派-德尔塔-普赛前任主席的丹尼尔·李(Daniel Li)起立。在一小时结结巴巴、磨人的证词中,李说他看到了林、黎、关三人相继抱住并摔倒了邓,使他在最后一击之后陷入了昏迷。当所有人都在苦思冥想该做什么的时候,李说,他已经睡下了,错过了整个掩盖证据的过程。

As Li testified, the four remaining brothers slumped in their chairs and stared at their hands. There were none of the courthouse theatrics that they must have seen in Mafia movies when a rat takes the stand; no one glared at Li or whispered angrily to their lawyers. Instead, an awkward hush fell over the courtroom, in part because Li couldn’t make it through an answer without being reprompted by the prosecutor, but also because the lie of solidarity was being unraveled and laid out in front of the young men who had been stupid enough to believe in it. For Li’s cooperation in the case against his four brothers, the State of Pennsylvania reduced the charges against him — they no longer include murder — and delayed his court proceedings.

李证实称,四名剩下的兄弟瘫坐在椅子上,盯着自己的手。当所谓的“叛徒”采取立场的时候,法院中并没有上演黑社会电影中的那种戏剧场面;没有人盯着李,也没有人怒气冲冲地与律师密谈。相反,法庭内弥漫着尴尬的沉默,一部分是因为如果不是检察官再次提示他,他可能也答不上来,同时也是因为一个有关团结一致的谎言在这些年轻男子面前揭穿,他们之前竟然愚蠢地相信了这个谎言。因为李配合指证了四名兄弟,宾夕法尼亚州减轻了对他的指控,不再包括谋杀罪,同时也推迟了他的审判程序。

On a Sunday morning in May 2016, I received a text message from a Korean rapper friend named Rekstizzy. Rek, as he’s better known, grew up in Queens and, like Michael Deng, graduated from Bronx Science. Today Rek lives in Los Angeles and runs a campaign to reclaim the cartoon frog known as Pepe from the so-­called alt-right. But back when he first reached out to me in 2012, during the height of Jeremy Lin’s brief magical run with the New York Knicks, he was all about representing Asian Queens. This included a cultural blog for Asian-­American men called Gumship and a YouTube series in which Rek tried to introduce stoic men to the joys of cute products like Hello Kitty. Rek, who considered joining Pi Delta Psi when he attended Binghamton, told me in his text that he was partying in Las Vegas with some ‘‘random frat dudes.’’ One of them had confided to him about the murder charges against him and how helpless and lost he felt. It was Kenny Kwan, the Pi Delta Psi brother who had wept in the courthouse.

2016年5月的一个周日造成,一名叫Rekstizzy的韩国说唱歌手朋友给我发了一则短信。Rek是他更为人知的名字,他在皇后区长大。和邓俊贤一样,他也是从布朗克斯科学高中(Bronx Science)毕业。现在Rek住在洛杉矶,运作着一个旨在从所谓的另类右派手中夺回名为佩佩(Pepe)的卡通青蛙的运动。但他最初是在2012年联系我的,当时还是林书豪(Jeremy Lin)在纽约尼克斯队(New York Knicks)短暂的神奇巅峰时期,他已经是皇后区亚洲人的代表了。这包括了一个亚洲人的文化博客——美国人将其称为Gumship,还有一系列YouTube视频,Rek在其中向禁欲的男性介绍像Hello Kitty一样可爱的产品可带来的乐趣。Rek在宾汉顿大学(Binghamton)上学期间,曾考虑过加入派-德尔塔-普赛,他在短信中告诉我说他当时正在拉斯维加斯跟几个“兄弟会的兄弟”参加派对。其中一人向他透露说他被控谋杀,他感到非常彷徨无助。这个人正是肯尼·关(Kenny Kwan),他就是在法庭掉下眼泪的派-德尔塔-普赛成员。

A few days later, Kwan called me at home in Brooklyn. He said he had heard that an Asian writer was going to write about the case from an Asian perspective. I told him that I was, indeed, an Asian writer. He paused and asked if I knew someone who could help him get his story out in a way that wasn’t biased against Asians. I told him that I’d be happy to talk to him, but I wanted to be clear: I wasn’t working on an article whose aim was to exonerate him and his brothers, and he should talk to his lawyer before calling me back. Over the past year, I’ve found myself wondering what exactly Kwan might have meant by an ‘‘Asian perspective.’’ Was he asking for fairness or was he asking me to choose sides?

几天后,关从布鲁克林的家中给我打了电话。他说他听说一名亚裔作者将要从亚裔的角度撰写这个案件。他停顿了一下,问我是否认识作者能写出一篇关于他的故事,其中不带有对亚洲人的偏见。我告诉他说,我非常愿意跟他交谈,但我也想说清楚:我并不是要写一篇使他和他的兄弟免罪的文章,在给我回电之前,他需要先跟律师谈谈。在过去一年,我发现自己一直在想关说的“亚洲人的角度”究竟是什么意思。他是在要求公平,还是在要我选边站?

Kwan never called back, but he wasn’t the only Baruch brother who wondered if there might be some value in talking to me. Months before, I met Sheldon Wong at his lawyer’s office in Lower Manhattan. Wong is tall and handsome, with sharp cheekbones and a puckered mouth that twitches when he’s anxious. At the arraignment in the Poconos, Wong stared at a spot on the carpet as his fraternity brothers squirmed and slouched and tried to screw on brave faces. During our meeting, Wong switched between what looked like nerves and a quiet earnestness. In those more candid moments, I could see why he had taken on the role of pledge educator — why, he said, his mother had encouraged him to seek a career as a psychologist.

关并没有给我回电,但他并不是唯一一名想着与我交谈是否会有价值的巴鲁克学院的兄弟。几个月前,我在下曼哈顿区谢尔顿·王(Sheldon Wong)律师的办公室会见了他。王又高又帅,颧骨突出,当他感到不安的时候,他翘起的嘴会抽搐。在孛可诺传讯期间,当王的兄弟们扭动、耷拉着头,尝试盯着勇敢的面孔的时候,王则一直盯着地毯上的一处。在和王会面的时候,王一直在似乎是紧张和安静的诚挚之间切换。在那些更真诚的时刻,我可以看到为什么他可以担当宣誓教员的原因——原因就是,他说,他妈妈一直鼓励他以心理学家作职业。

His life, at least on the surface, wasn’t much different from Michael Deng’s. He was born in Flushing but spent his early childhood in a predominantly Italian-­American neighborhood in Jamaica, Queens. His mother, who immigrated from Hong Kong to New York as a teenager, left his father, a construction worker, when Wong was 5 and moved the two of them to Flushing, where she worked as a waitress. ‘‘When I was in Jamaica, most of my friends were the Italian kids in the neighborhood,’’ Wong said. ‘‘When we moved to Flushing, there weren’t as many Asian kids as there are now. I was still one of the only ones. Most of my friends were black or Hispanic — I just hung out with whoever I was around at the time.’’

他的生活,至少在表面上,和邓俊贤没什么差别。他出生在法拉盛,但童年早期在皇后区的牙买加区里一个以意大利裔美国人为主的社区度过。他的母亲在青少年时期从香港移民到纽约,在王5岁时,她离开了他的父亲,一名建筑工人,他们俩搬到了法拉盛,她在那里做餐厅服务员。“我在牙买加的时候,大多数朋友都是那个社区的意大利孩子,”王说。“当我们搬到了法拉盛,那里当时还没有现在这么多亚洲孩子。我还是仅有的那些其中一个。我的朋友主要是黑人和拉美裔的——我当时会和周围的任何人一起玩。”

Wong attended Middle School 185 in Bayside, just a few miles from Deng’s childhood home. ‘‘The Asian kids hung out with each other,’’ Wong said. ‘‘The cliques went by race and extracurricular activities — sports, clubs, whatever. As the years went by, I noticed it was harder for kids to branch out and talk to people outside their race.’’ He continued in a careful, almost scholarly way: ‘‘I know New York is supposed to be this melting pot, but if you’re from Queens, it’s more like a bubble. The people you meet are pretty similar to yourself.’’

王去了皇后区贝赛的185中学读书,距离邓俊贤童年的家仅几英里远。“亚洲孩子总是一起玩,”王说。“小团伙是根据种族和课外活动——体育、社团什么的来划分的。随着时间流逝,我注意到孩子们越来越难走出小圈子,和不同种族的人交谈。”他继续用一种谨慎,几乎文绉绉的方式说:“我知道纽约被认为是一个大熔炉,但如果你来自皇后区,那里更像是一个气泡。你所遇见的人和你自己非常相似。”

In the spring of his freshman year at Baruch, Wong was approached by a ‘‘neophyte’’ (the word for a newly anointed brother) in Pi Delta Psi. Given Baruch’s commuter-­student culture, where most students socialized with their friends from city high schools, Pi Delta Psi’s recruitment strategy was to approach all eligible males, even some non-­Asians, and ask them to join. Wong went to a meeting, got along with a few of the guys there and decided to give the fraternity a shot.

在巴鲁克学院读一年级的时候,一名派-德尔塔-普赛兄弟会的“新信徒”(指新加入的兄弟)接触了王。因为巴鲁克学院的通勤-学生文化,更多学生和来自同一城市和高中的朋友社交。派-德尔塔-普赛兄弟会的招揽策略是找到所有符合条件的男生,甚至包括非亚裔的学生,邀请他们加入。王参加了一次会议,和那里的几个男生相处得不错,决定尝试一下兄弟会。

Until he pledged Pi Delta Psi, Wong said, he did not know how badly his people had suffered. He did not know about the death of Vincent Chin. He did not know about Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 Supreme Court case that upheld Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order to send Japanese-­Americans to internment camps. As he immersed himself in Pi Delta Psi’s misshapen yet still revelatory history of Asian-­American oppression, he grew increasingly frustrated with the gaps in his New York City public-­school education. Wong said the omissions were unfair. ‘‘I didn’t understand why we wouldn’t focus on a certain ethnic group or why we would ignore it,’’ Wong said. ‘‘Sometimes, it felt like things that happened to Asians were less important.’’

直到他向派-德尔塔-普赛宣誓加入,王说,他都不知道自己的种族过去受过什么样的苦难。他不知道陈果仁(Vincent Chin)之死,也不知道松丰三郎诉美国政府案(Korematsu v. United States),1944年美国最高法院坚持罗斯福(Franklin D. Roosevelt)总统的行政命令,将日裔美国人关进集中营。随着他沉浸在从兄弟会了解到的扭曲但仍具启示性的亚裔美国人被迫害史,他越来越对自己接受的纽约公立学校教育中的空白感到沮丧。王说,这些遗漏是不公平的。“我不明白为什么我们不关注一个种族,或者为什么我们要忽视某个种族,”王说。“有时候,感觉就像发生在亚裔身上的事情不那么重要一样。”

The new education changed him; the silence that separates so many immigrant children from their parents began to close. For the first time in his life, Wong talked to his mother about her early days in the United States, the fear she had felt in a country where she did not speak the language, the small yet persistent flare-­ups in which she could feel both her invisibility and her irrelevance in a country dominated by whites. He said he never felt closer to his mother than in those early days of his awakening. ‘‘You know how it is with Asian parents,’’ Wong said. ‘‘If you don’t ask them about their lives, you won’t find out.’’ He started to feel as if he were part of something. Wong was offered a ‘‘bid’’ and began Pi Delta Psi’s pledging process, where he learned more about the oppression of Asian-­Americans, the same lessons he would teach Michael Deng a couple of years later.

新的教育改变了他;让那些移民家庭的孩子和他们的父母产生距离的沉默开始闭合,生平第一次,王和他的母亲谈了她在美国的早期经历,在这个说着陌生语言的国家里她感了恐惧,在这个以白人为主的国家里,从细小却持续的爆发中她能感受到自己的隐形和无关紧要。他说他从没有像在自己觉醒的那些天里那样亲近母亲。“你知道亚裔家长是什么样的,”王说。“如果你不问,你就不会了解他们的生活。”他开始感到自己是某种东西的一部分。王得到了一次“招标”,他开始了加入兄弟会的程序。在那里,他学到了更多关于亚裔美国人所受的迫害,几年之后,他把同样的课程教给了邓俊贤。

 On May 15, three and a half years after Michael Deng’s death, Kwan, Lai, Lam and Wong again filed into the Stroudsburg courtroom, where dark oil paintings of dead men hung on the walls, framed by dusty red drapes. Just two weeks before, eight brothers who belonged to Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity were charged with manslaughter in yet another hazing death, this one involving an 18-year-old pledge named Timothy Piazza. The similarities between the two cases — Piazza, like Deng, died after going through something called ‘‘the gauntlet’’ (though physical abuse was not part of the ritual) — brought out more reporters than might have been expected, and as they set up in the hallways of the courthouse, many of the questions were about Penn State.

5月15日,邓俊贤死后三年半,肯尼·关、查尔斯·黎、谢尔顿·王和雷蒙德·林再次鱼贯走入斯特劳茨伯格法庭。法庭的墙上,暗色调的油画配着落了尘土的红色帷幔,画中是些已经作古的男人。那之前两周,宾夕法尼亚州大学Beta Theta Pi兄弟会的八名成员在另一桩虐死案中被控杀人罪。案件牵涉一个名叫蒂莫西·皮亚萨的18岁新成员。两案颇有相似处:皮亚萨也像邓俊贤一样,经历了一种被称作“铁手套”的仪式之后死亡(但该仪式不包括肉体虐待)。这种相似性让赶来报道的媒体格外多。记者们在法庭外走廊上做准备的时候,很多人的问题都和宾州大学有关。

Kimberly A. Metzger, an assistant district attorney, sat at the table reserved for the state. She leaned back in her chair, staring out at the gathering gallery. The families squirmed, and their narrow, wooden seats creaked, but there were none of the consoling or furtive glances among the defendants that there had been on earlier court dates. They did not look at one another as Metzger briefly summarized the roles they had played in Michael Deng’s death — the tackles, the text messages, the delays in seeking medical help, the scramble to dispose evidence that would tie them to Pi Delta Psi. When the judge asked if they were aware of what their pleas meant, they said ‘‘yes’’ in meek unison.

助理区检察官金伯利·A·麦茨格坐在控方席。她的身体向后倾,注视着越聚越多的人群。家属代表不安地扭动着身子,身下狭窄的木质坐席发出吱呀声。但这一次,被告眼中没有上次出庭时那种安慰和回避的眼神。麦茨格简要概述他们在邓俊贤之死中所发挥的作用(撞人的行为、那些短信、没有及时呼叫医护人员,以及匆忙中销毁有关兄弟会身份的证据)的时候,他们没有彼此看对方。法官问他们,是否理解他们所作申辩的意义。他们同时低声回答:“理解”。

The Pi Delta Psi brothers pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and hindering apprehension. (About 30 members of Pi Delta Psi, including Andy Meng and Revel Deng, are still facing lesser charges connected to Michael Deng’s death. The fraternity itself has also been charged with third-­degree murder and other crimes. And the Dengs have filed a civil suit against the defendants.) Lai, Wong, Lam and Kwan will not be sentenced until the end of this year. According to Pennsylvania guidelines, the recommended sentence for these charges for a defendant with no criminal record is 22 to 33 months.

对于故意杀人和拒捕指控,派-德尔塔-普赛兄弟会成员选择有罪申辩。(大约30名成员,包括安迪·孟和来福尔·邓,仍在邓俊贤一案中面临较轻的指控。兄弟会本身也被控三级谋杀和其他罪名。邓俊贤家人还对被告提起了民事诉讼。)上述四名主要被告要到年底才会获得量刑。根据宾夕法尼亚的法规,针对无前科的被告,这些罪名的推荐刑期是22到33个月。

Asians are the loneliest Americans. The collective political consciousness of the ’80s has been replaced by the quiet, unaddressed isolation that comes with knowing that you can be born in this country, excel in its schools and find a comfortable place in its economy and still feel no stake in the national conversation. The current vision of solidarity among Asian-­Americans is cartoonish and blurry and relegated to conversations at family picnics, in drunken exchanges over food that reminds everyone at the table of how their mom used to make it. Everything else is the confusion of never knowing what side to choose because choosing our own side has so rarely been an option. Asian pride is a laughable concept to most Americans. Racist incidents pass without prompting any real outcry, and claims of racism are quickly dismissed. A common past can be accessed only through dusty, dug-up things: the murder of Vincent Chin, Korematsu v. United States, the Bataan Death March and the illusion that we are going through all these things together. The Asian-­American fraternity is not much more than a clumsy step toward finding an identity in a country where there are no more reference points for how we should act, how we should think about ourselves. But in its honest confrontation with being Asian and its refusal to fall into familiar silence, it can also be seen as a statement of self-­worth. These young men, in their doomed way, were trying to amend the American dream that had brought their parents to this country with one caveat:

亚裔是美国人中最孤独的群体。80年代的集体政治意识已经被一种无声的、无人理会的孤立取代。那种孤立来自这样一种认识:你可以出生在美国,你可以成绩优异、经济条件优沃,但你仍然感到在这个国家的公共话语中无足重轻。当前,亚裔美国人中对于团结的理解是模糊和漫画式的,仅限于家庭野餐时的闲聊,或者酒醉之后关于菜肴的讨论,让在座的每个人想起他们母亲的厨艺。此外的一切都是困惑,不知道该站在哪一边,因为选择站在我们自己这边很少是一种可能的选项。对多数美国人来说,亚裔的骄傲是一个可笑的概念。种族歧视事件发生之后,也不会引起真正的大声抗议。有人提出种族歧视问题,也会很快被否定。共同的历史只有通过陈年旧事去体会:陈果仁被害案、是松案、巴丹死亡行军,以及我们在共同经历这些事件的幻觉。在这个国家,我们已经没有了行为和自我认知的参照点,而亚裔兄弟会也不过是向着寻找身份认同迈出的笨拙的一步。但是,当他们诚实面对自己的亚裔身份,拒绝堕入那熟悉的沉默之时,他们也是在发出一份自我价值的声明。这些孩子们以他们毁灭性的方式,去尝试用一句警语修改那个美国梦,那个曾经把他们的父辈带到这片土地上的美国梦:

 I will succeed, they say. But not without my brothers!

他们说,我会成功。但不能没有兄弟!

 Michael Deng’s family still lives in the sparsely furnished two-­story home in Queens where he spent most of his life. Inside, the only concessions to decoration are a glass cabinet and, on the mantel, a forest of Michael’s trophies. As I spoke with his mother — we sat on leather couches that had been meticulously cleaned and bore none of the markings of children in the house — Michael’s father, his thinning hair dyed and slicked back, his hands resting anxiously on his knees, sat nearby. Whenever she started talking about anything other than her son’s early years, she switched from Mandarin to English, a language Michael’s father had not yet learned. She was heeding his doctor’s orders: He had recently had heart surgery and had been advised to stay away from any sort of anxiety-­inducing activity, including conversations about his dead son.

邓俊贤的家人仍住在皇后区那座陈设简单的两层住宅里。他这一生大部分时间是在那里度过的。室内唯一可以算作装饰的是一只玻璃橱柜,还有壁炉架台上摆满的邓俊贤的各种奖杯。和他的母亲谈话时,我们坐在皮沙发上;沙发一尘不染,完全看不到家里有孩子的迹象。邓俊贤的父亲坐在一边,已见稀疏的头发被染过,向后梳,手局促地放在膝盖上。每当她谈及任何无关儿子小时候的事,她就从普通话转换成英语。孩子的父亲还没学会英语。她在遵照医嘱:他不久前做过一个心脏手术,医生要求他避免诱发焦虑的活动,包括谈及他死去的儿子。

Michael’s mother took me upstairs to what had been his part of the house: a bedroom with the blinds drawn and a study room with an ornate dark wooden desk that looked as though it had been salvaged from a TV lawyer’s office. She said she hadn’t touched the rooms since Michael left for Baruch. SAT prep books and a handful of composition notebooks lined the bookshelves in which Michael, in neat, rounded handwriting that slanted a bit to the left, had written out his thoughts on the Ace style of handball, breakdowns of New York City’s Specialized High Schools and his observations about the world around him. In October 2008, when he was in eighth grade, he wrote, ‘‘Wearing a winter coat, going to Alley Pond Park, getting under a tree (to hide from the snow) and watch the snow fall down to the trees and ground is my favorite way to pass time in winter.’’

邓俊贤的母亲带我上楼去他的房间:一间卧室,窗帘拉着;一间书房,有一张精美的深色木质书桌,仿佛是从某个电视剧中律师的办公室里淘回来的。她说,自从邓俊贤去巴鲁克,她就没动过这两个房间。书架上摆放着SAT备考书和几本作文本。在本子上,他用工整圆润而稍向左倾斜的字体,描述着他对Ace手球的看法、纽约市特殊高中的细分情况,还有他对自己周围世界的种种观察。2008年10月,他上八年级时,邓俊贤这样写道:“穿一件大衣,去Alley Pond Park,跑到一棵树下(为了躲雪),看着雪花飘落到树上和地上,我最喜欢这样打发冬日的时光。”

His mother told me about the night she spent at the hospital in the Poconos. Her son was already past saving, but she decided to keep him breathing so that his father would have time to arrive from China. That night, she stayed by Michael’s bedside and stuck acupuncture needles in his arm in a desperate attempt to save her son. ‘‘You don’t believe that this could happen to such a big healthy, happy boy,’’ she told me. ‘‘I learned acupuncture back in China, and I thought maybe it will help his comeback. The doctors knew he was already gone, so they let me do it, because they wanted me to have that moment of hope that I could bring him back.’’

他的母亲为我描述她在波科诺派恩斯医院度过的那个夜晚。儿子已经没有希望了,但她决定让他保持呼吸,好让孩子的父亲有时间从中国赶来。那个晚上,她守在孩子身边,在他的手臂上针灸,竭尽全力地想要挽救孩子的生命。“你无法相信这样的事会发生在这样一个健康、快乐的大小伙子身上,”她对我说。“我在中国学的针灸,我想也许我能让他醒过来。医生知道人已经不行了,所以他们也不拦着,因为他们想让我保留那么一刻的希望,希望我能让他回来。”

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