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为何亚裔美国人总是“爱你在心口难开”?

更新时间:2019/1/15 20:51:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why We Struggle to Say ‘I Love You’
为何亚裔美国人总是“爱你在心口难开”?

Is it true that Asian-Americans cannot say “I love you?” The striking title of the writer Lac Su’s memoir is “I Love Yous Are for White People,” which explores the emotional devastation wreaked on one Vietnamese family by its refugee experiences. I share some of Lac Su’s background, and it has been a lifelong effort to learn how to say, without awkwardness, “I love you.” I can do this for my son, and it is heartfelt, but it comes with an effort born of the self-consciousness I still feel when I say it to my father or brother.

亚裔美国人真的不能说“我爱你”吗?作家苏乐(Lac Su,音)的回忆录有个醒目的名字:《我爱你是白人才说的》(I Love you Are for White People),它探讨了一个越南家庭因难民经历而遭受的情感创伤。我和苏乐有一些相似的背景,一辈子都在努力学会如何自然地说出“我爱你”。我可以对儿子这样说,而且是发自内心的,但如果要对父亲或兄弟说,就需要有意识地做一番努力。

Thus, when the actress Sandra Oh won a Golden Globe for best actress in a television drama, “Killing Eve,” perhaps the most powerful part of her acceptance speech for many of us who are Asian-Americans was when she thanked her parents. Gazing at them in the audience, she said, in Korean, “I love you.” She was emotional, her parents were proud, and I could not help but project onto them one of the central dramas of Asian immigrant and refugee life: the silent sacrifice of the parents, the difficult gratitude of the children, revolving around the garbled expression of love.

因此,当演员吴卓珊(Sandra Oh)凭借电视剧《杀死伊芙》(Killing Eve)获得金球奖(Golden Globe)最佳女演员奖时,对我们这些亚裔美国人来说,她在获奖感言中感谢父母的那一段或许是最震撼的。她看着坐在观众席中的他们,用韩语说:“我爱你”。她很动情,她的父母很自豪,我不禁把亚洲移民和难民生活的核心戏码之一也投射到他们身上:父母默默牺牲,孩子们艰难感恩,兜着圈子含糊地表达爱意。

So many of our Asian parents have struggled, suffered and endured in ways that are completely beyond the imaginations of their children born or raised in North American comfort. This struggle and sacrifice was how Asian parents say “I love you” without having to say it. And so many of us children are not expected to say it either, but instead are expected to express love through gratitude, which means obeying our parents and following their wishes for how we should live our lives.

我们许多亚洲父母的挣扎、痛苦和忍耐,完全不是他们在北美舒适环境中出生或长大的孩子们所能想象的。这种挣扎和牺牲就是亚洲父母沉默地表达“我爱你”的方式。所以他们也不期待我们这些孩子们说这样的话,相反,我们应该通过感恩来表达爱,这意味着我们要遵从父母,按照他们的意愿来生活。

Our parents, for the most part, told us to get a good education, get a good job and not speak up, things they had to do to survive. They have encouraged, or forced, many of us to become doctors, lawyers and engineers, and to feel ashamed if we do not. What these parents did not do was tell us we could become artists, actors or storytellers, people engaged in seemingly trivial, unsafe and unstable professions. This is why it has been so rare for me, as I give talks in different places around the country, to encounter Asian parents who embrace their children who do not become the “model minority.”

父母在大多数时候告诉我们,要接受良好的教育,找到一份好工作,不要大胆表态,为了生存,他们必须这样做。他们鼓励或强迫我们中的许多人成为医生、律师和工程师,如果我们不这样做,就会感到羞愧。这些父母没有告诉我们,我们本可以成为艺术家、演员或者讲故事的人,或者从事看似无关紧要、不安全和不稳定的职业。所以,当我在全国各地演讲时,很少见到亚洲父母同意自己的孩子不去当“模范少数族裔”。

I have met so few who have proudly told me that their children are English majors or have become writers or artists. Perhaps Ms. Oh’s parents were like this. I sometimes wish my parents would have been like this. But I became a writer despite, and perhaps because of, their resistance to the idea, my inarticulate desires pushing against their inarticulate sacrifice, all of it taking place before a backdrop of refugee life and racial reality.

很少有人骄傲地告诉我,他们的孩子是学英语专业的,或者已经成为作家或艺术家。也许吴卓珊的父母是这样,我有时希望我的父母也是这样的。但是不管怎么说,我还是当上了作家,或许是因为他们对这个想法的抵制,我说不出口的渴望抵抗着他们说不出口的牺牲,所有这一切都发生在难民生活和种族现实的背景之下。

I grew up in the relatively diverse city of San Jose, Calif., in the 1980s. My neighbors were older white working-class people, Mexican immigrants and Vietnamese refugees. Then I went to a mostly white high school, with only a handful of students of Asian descent. We knew we were different, but we found our difference a little difficult to put into words. We called ourselves “the Asian invasion.”

1980年代,我在相对多元化的加州圣何塞市长大。周围的邻居有年长的白人工薪阶层、墨西哥移民和越南难民。后来我上了一所以白人为主的高中,那里只有寥寥几个亚裔学生。我们知道我们是不同的,但是我们发现我们的不同很难用语言表达。我们称自己为“亚洲入侵”。

We laughed about that term, but looking back, it was clear that we had absorbed and internalized the racism of American society. In my case, I was lucky that I had never been called a racist slur to my face, although one of my white elementary school classmates, knowing that I came from Vietnam, asked me if had carried an AK-47 and fought in the war. My classmate had been irradiated by the images he — and I, and all my eventual Asian-American classmates in high school — saw. We knew that somehow we were seen by other Americans as invaders of their country, even if it happened to be our country, too.

我们拿这个词开玩笑,但是回过头来看,很明显,我们已经吸收并内化了美国社会的种族主义。就我而言,我很幸运,从来没有人当面对我说什么种族主义的侮辱言辞,只有小学里的一个白人同学知道我来自越南,问我有没有扛着AK-47步枪参加战争。这位同学受到他——还有我,以及所有最终成为我高中同学的亚裔美国人——看到的景象所影响。我们知道,在某种程度上,我们被其他美国人视为他们国家的入侵者,即使这个国家碰巧也是我们的国家。

The irony was that we had not invaded America. America had invaded us, or at the very least had occupied or fought in our countries of origin or heritage. We were here because America was there.

具有讽刺意味的是,我们没有侵略美国,而是美国侵略了我们,至少是占领了我们的原籍国或祖国,又或者在我们的原籍国或祖国进行了战斗。我们在这里,是因为美国在那里。

Looking back, what I only belatedly realized was that I needed — we all needed — more stories featuring us. More voices belonging to us. More advocates telling our stories in our way with our faces, our inflections, our concerns, our intuitions. We just needed to be at the center of a story, which would include all the complexities of human subjectivity, not just the good but the bad, the three-dimensional fullness that white people took for granted with the privilege of being individuals.

回想起来,我后来才意识到的,是我需要——我们都需要——更多讲述我们的故事。更多属于我们的声音。更多以我们的方式、我们的面孔、我们的曲折、我们的关切、我们的直觉讲述的故事发起的倡导。我们就是需要处在故事的中心,故事将包括人的主体性相关的所有复杂层面,不仅是好的,也包括坏的,那种掌握作为个体的特权的白人视为理所当然的立体完整性。

When it came to mass media’s representations of us — film and television, morning radio disc jockey jokes, journalistic punditry — we got only the bad. We were collectively the villains, the servants, the enemies, the mistresses, the houseboys, the invaders.

说起大众媒体对我们的呈现——电影电视、早间电台DJ的玩笑、新闻权威的意见——我们只得到了坏的。我们的集体形象是反派、仆人、敌人、情妇、男仆和侵略者。

As a result, so many of us who watched these distorted images and heard the stupid jokes learned to be ashamed of ourselves. We learned to be ashamed of our parents. And the shame compounded the inability to say “I love you,” a phrase that belonged to the wonderful world of white people we saw in the movies and television.

结果,我们中太多观看了这些扭曲形象,听了这些愚蠢玩笑的人,学会了对自己感到羞愧。我们学会了对父母感到羞愧。这种羞愧加重了说出“我爱你”的无力感,这个词语属于我们在电影电视上看到的那个白人的美好世界。

We had to learn better, but the truth is that Asian parents have to learn better, too. You cannot be proud of your artist and storyteller children only when they win Golden Globes. We honor your sacrifice for us, but you have to encourage your children to speak up as well, to claim their voices, to risk mediocrity and failure, to tell their stories and your stories. At the very least, you cannot stand in their way.

我们必须学习改进,但事实是亚裔父母们也必须改进。你们不能在你们的艺术家和作家子女们得了金球奖之后才为他们自豪。我们尊敬你们为我们所作的牺牲,但你们必须鼓励你们的孩子说出自己的想法,去获得他们的声音,去冒平庸和失败的风险,去讲述他们的故事和你们的故事。但至少,你们不能挡住他们的去路。

A high school classmate who lived in the elite, mostly white city of Saratoga, Calif., in the 1980s told me that when Asians started moving in — the “good,” professional Asians — white people started moving out. No amount of Asian-American success will change this dynamic of white people fearing that we are the Asian invasion — taking their jobs, breaking the curve, stealing their seats in the Ivy League — until we challenge racism of both the explicit and implicit kinds.

80年代生活在白人为主的加州精英城市萨拉托加的一位高中同学告诉我,当亚裔开始搬入——“优秀的”白领亚裔——白人就开始搬出。再多亚裔美国人的成功也改变不了白人视我们为“亚洲入侵”的恐惧——夺走他们的工作,考出高分,窃取了他们在常春藤名校的名额——除非我们对种族主义发起挑战,包括显性和隐性的。

We are still the Asian invasion in the eyes of many, and if we are not as terrifying today as we were in the past, it’s at least partly because many white Americans are more afraid of invasions by Muslims, Mexicans and Central Americans. Many people who might not wish to be our neighbors would at least prefer us to African-Americans.

在很多人眼里,我们仍是亚洲侵略势力,如果说我们不像过去那样担惊受怕了,那至少部分是因为许多美国白人更害怕穆斯林、墨西哥人和中美洲人的入侵。许多人也许不希望和我们做邻居,但相比非裔美国人,他们可能宁可选我们。

We cannot accept this as our price of entry into American society. If we must assert ourselves and speak out against racism when it is directed against us, we must also do so when it benefits us. And we do that by challenging and changing the American story. We do it by taking the stage and by telling our own stories, which is really, in the end, our way of saying “I love you” to our parents, our families, our communities and our country.

我们不能以接受这一点作为进入美国社会的代价。如果我们必须在种族主义的矛头指向我们时维护自己并大胆抗议,那么我们还需要让此举给我们带来好处。我们要通过登上舞台、讲述我们自己的故事做到这一点,说到底,它其实就是我们说出“我爱你”的方式——对我们的父母、我们的家人、我们的社区以及我们的国家。

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