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在蓝调的故乡,探访华裔美国人鲜为人知的故事

更新时间:2018-3-18 9:14:05 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Neither Black Nor White in the Mississippi Delta
在蓝调的故乡,探访华裔美国人鲜为人知的故事

If you drive through the Mississippi Delta on a typical, achingly hot summer day, you pass former cotton plantations where thousands of black people were enslaved, and as sites where men and women struggled, and all too often died, during the civil rights movement. 

如果在典型的炎炎夏日驾车穿越密西西比河三角洲,你会经过以前的棉花种植园。那里曾有成千上万的黑奴,而在民权运动期间,男男女女也是在那里抗争,许多还在那里死去。

It is easy to understand why the blues was born here.

不难理解布鲁斯音乐为什么诞生在这里。

While the story of the Delta was, and in some ways still is, one of inequality and segregation between white and black people, there was another little noted community in their midst in the 20th century: a community of Chinese-Americans. 

尽管密西西比河三角洲的故事在某种程度上依然是白人和黑人之间的不平等及种族隔离的故事,但在20世纪,他们中间还有一个鲜被提及的群体:华裔美国人。

“The Chinese have been in the Delta for more than a hundred years,” said Frieda Quon, a retired librarian who speaks with a southern drawl. “When we came initially, we didn’t have rights. We couldn’t go to the white schools, couldn’t even get a haircut, could not go to the hospitals. We were second-class citizens. After the civil rights era, we gained more rights. I think the communities realized, ‘Hey the Chinese are really making a contribution.’”

“华人已经在三角洲地区生活一百多年了,”讲话带南方腔调的退休图书管理员弗里达·管(Frieda Quon)说。“刚来的时候,我们没有权利。我们不能去白人学校,甚至不能去理发,也不能去医院。我们是二等公民。在民权时代过后,我们得到了更多权利。我想是社会意识到,‘嘿,华人的确在做贡献。’”

Ms. Quon was among a dozen Mississippians of Chinese descent who were photographed and interviewed by Andrew Kung and Emanuel Hahn. Though the photographers had only met in New York in 2017, they have much in common apart from being Asian-American — both became photographers after attending business school and working for tech start-ups.

弗里达·管是安德鲁·龚(Andrew Kung)和伊曼纽尔·韩(Emanuel Hahn)拍摄和采访的十多名有中国血统的密西西比州人之一。尽管两位摄影师只在2017年在纽约见过一次面,但除了都是亚裔美国人之外,他们还有很多共同点——上的都是商学院,都在科技创业公司工作过,后来都成了摄影师。

Mr. Kung, 26, and Mr. Hahn, 28, decided to do a project together, and while exploring the history of Asian-American immigrants in the United States, they learned about the little told story of the Mississippi Delta’s Chinese-American community. 

26岁的安德鲁·龚和28岁的伊曼纽尔·韩决定一起做一个项目。在探索亚裔美国移民在美国的历史期间,他们了解到了密西西比河三角洲华人鲜为人知的故事。

Chinese immigrants first came to the Delta after the Civil War to work on plantations, but it was not until the 1900s that their numbers grew, as scores of Chinese family-owned grocery stores, mostly catering to their black neighbors, sprang up.  By the 1970s, there were as many as 3,000 residents of Chinese descent in the Delta, many of them living in houses attached to their family’s stores. In this highly segregated society they were barred from social organizations, public facilities and white public schools. In the mid-1940s, there were separate classrooms for Chinese students in Cleveland, Miss.

美国内战结束后,中国移民第一次来到三角洲地区,在种植园里工作,但直到20世纪初,随着数十家华人家庭经营的食品杂货店涌现,他们的人数才有所增加。这些食杂店主要服务于他们的黑人邻居。到了70年代,三角洲地区的华裔移民已经达到了3000人,其中很多人住在与家里的商店相连的房屋里。在这个严格按种族隔离的社会里,他们被禁止进入社会组织、公共设施和白人公立学校。40年代中期,在密西西比州的克利夫兰,华人学生有单独的教室。

In the course of their project, Mr. Kung and Mr. Hahn recorded oral histories and found that the Chinese residents that they met were at times very much like their neighbors.

在开展这个项目的过程中,两人记录了口述历史,并且发现他们遇到的华裔居民有时候和他们的邻居非常像。

Gilroy and Sally Chow’s family takes the football rivalry between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State seriously. So seriously that they now sit in opposing stands to keep the peace between family members who back opposing sides.

密西西比大学(University of Mississippi)和密西西比州立大学(Mississippi State)的橄榄球对抗是周瑞林和周春莉一家的大事。大到他们现在会坐在对立的看台上,以确保支持不同队伍的家庭成员之间能够和平相处。

Shawn Kwan, 25, whose family owns a store in Greenville, said he appreciated Mississippi’s gun culture. “We can openly carry the firearm in public and we do have a concealed carry — like keep it under your shirt,” he said. “You can’t really do that in any other state. That’s another reason why I’m kind of anchored down to the South.”

25岁的肖恩·关(Shawn Kwan)家在格林维尔有一间铺面,他说,他喜欢密西西比的枪支文化。“我们可以在公共场所公开携带枪支,我们也可以隐蔽携带——比如放在你的衬衫里面,”他说。“在别的州就不能这么做了。这是南部能这样把我留住的另一个原因。”

At the same time, many members of the community retain elements of their families’ Chinese culture, and their frequent gatherings with family and friends often feature Chinese cuisine.

与此同时,这个社区也有许多人保留了他们家族的中国文化元素,在他们与家人朋友常有的聚会中,也往往有中国菜。

The Mississippi Delta is one of the poorest areas in the country according to Federal Government statistics  and has few economic opportunities.  Its Chinese  community  is aging.  Most high school students go off to college and then settle elsewhere. Taylor Pang, 25, who works for the state’s Department of Agriculture and still lives in Marks, Miss., a city of about 1,500 people, is among the few who have stayed.

根据联邦政府数据,密西西比河三角洲是美国最贫困的地区之一,经济机会不多。当地的华人社区正在老龄化,许多高中生上了大学后便定居别处。25岁的泰勒·庞(Taylor Pang)在州农业部工作,至今还在密西西比州内约1500人口的城市马克斯生活,是那里仅剩的几个华人居民之一。

“I’m a fourth-generation farmer in my family and I want to continue the tradition,” Mr. Pang said. “It’s kind of neat how we all immigrated and settled here,” he added, “but I understand if you have to follow where the money is. The only reason why you’re still stuck in the Delta is because you’re a farmer, teacher, or someone in the medical field. There’s nothing really here anymore.”

“我是家里第四代农民,我也想把这个传统延续下去,”庞说。“我们全家都移民了,然后在这里定居,这还是挺酷的,”他补充说,“但你要说哪里有钱就去哪里,我也能理解。你还待在三角洲的唯一原因,就是你是个农民、老师,或是做医疗的。这里其实不剩什么了。”

Mr. Kung, the photographer, is a child of Chinese immigrants and grew up in a diverse neighborhood in San Francisco. Mr. Hahn’s parents are Korean Christian missionaries and he grew up in Singapore, Cambodia and South Korea before moving to the United States to attend New York University.

摄影师安德鲁·龚是华人移民的后代,在旧金山的一个多元化社区长大。伊曼纽尔·韩的父母是韩裔基督教传教士,他在新加坡、柬埔寨和韩国长大,后来移居到美国,在纽约大学(New York University)读书。

“Living in large cities, we were both used to hearing this narrative of Asians being the model minority,” Mr. Kung said. “We wanted to tap into untold stories when Asian-Americans made a big impact in their respective communities. These stories fly under the radar. Who would think there is a Chinese population in the Mississippi Delta?”

“我们住在大城市里,经常听到亚洲人是模范少数族裔的故事,”安德鲁·龚说。“我们想挖掘关于亚裔美国人在各自社区产生巨大影响的一些不为人知的故事。没人注意到这些故事。谁会想到密西西比三角洲有华裔呢?”

They arrived in Mississippi with data, and some preconceptions, Mr. Hahn said. They knew Mississippi was one of the poorest states in the country, with an economy heavily reliant on agriculture, and that the Delta had long flat roads that seemed to go on forever. But once there they also found a tightly knit Chinese-American community that “relied on family and roots, which helped them get through some of the racial tension from the past to the present,” Mr. Kung said.

伊曼纽尔·韩表示,他们带着数据和一些先入之见来到了密西西比。他们知道密西西比是美国最穷的州之一,经济严重依赖于农业,三角洲地区的道路平坦漫长,似乎没有尽头。不过安德鲁·龚表示,他们一到那里,就发现了一个关系密切的华裔美国人社区,它“依赖于家庭和文化根源,这帮他们化解了从过去一直持续到现在的一些种族紧张关系”。

“Oftentimes, as Asian-Americans in large cities, we don’t have that same level of community or that same level of ties because there are so many of us in New York, San Francisco and L.A. that we kind of take that level of community for granted,” Mr. Kung explained. “Seeing that level of intimacy for me, as a young Asian-American living in the States, was a very heartwarming thing to see, especially in a place where you wouldn’t really imagine there would be tons of Asians or Chinese-Americans”

“很多时候,作为大城市里的亚裔美国人,我们没有这种水平的社区或这种水平的亲密关系,因为在纽约、旧金山和洛杉矶,我们这样的人太多了,我们以为那样的社区是理所当然的,”安德鲁·龚说,“作为一个居住在美国的年轻亚裔美国人,看到这种水平的亲密关系,让我觉得特别温暖,尤其是在这样一个你真的没想到会有大量亚裔或华裔美国人的地方。”

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