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卡拉 09-02-2014 17:31

华裔亚裔混为一谈 美民众难区分个中差异

来源:侨报网
作者:陈高正
2014-09-02

【侨报网编译陈高正9月1日报道】美国之音(VOA)网站日前就“民众怎样看待华裔美国人(U.S. public views of Chinese Americans)”进行了持续报道。本文是该话题三篇深度报道中的第二篇,文中提出华裔美国人往往被美民众贴以“成功人士”标签,但他们通常难以区分华裔美国人与亚裔美国人的个中差异。

文章称,以人种来定义少数族裔往往会产生诸多问题,因为这在很大程度上带有主观臆断性,且多为局外人所为。

亚裔美国人亦面临类似问题。尽管在语言、宗教信仰乃至外貌特征等方面有显著区别,多数本土美国人经常把亚裔美国人混为一谈,他们无法区分其来自中国、韩国、越南还是柬埔寨等国。

对此,美国社会评论家表示,近些年来,民众一直将华裔美国人归为亚裔美国人的一部分,这为美国不断增长的亚裔社区人口带来了一些问题。由于华裔美国人往往被贴以“成功人士”的标签,从而导致其他亚裔美国人的窘迫生活状况鲜被人关注。事实上,华裔美国人是亚裔美国人的最主要构成者,但他们占所有亚裔美国人的比例仅为20%。换句话说,除了中国,还有大量来自亚洲其他国家的少数族裔美国人。

上一次针对民众如何看待华裔美国人的大调查显示,“很多人无法有效区分华裔美国人和其他亚裔美国人。”2009年,总部设在纽约、由杰出华裔美国人组成的百人会(Committee of 100)发起的调查亦显示,民众普遍将亚裔美国人混为一谈。值得一提的是,该结果与其2001年时发起的调查类似。调查发起人之一、华裔美国人维权人士齐亚(Helen Zia,音译)曾做过记者,她表示,时至今日,这一现象依然普遍存在,“民众对于华裔美国人是谁、来自哪里、在做什么的印象似乎像是一张损坏了的唱片,几乎停滞了。”

费城拉萨尔大学(LaSalle University)社会学教授查尔斯·加拉格尔(Charles Gallagher)则表示,很多民众对亚裔美国人相互间的语言、文化和历史差异未有察觉,“多数本土民众,包括非裔美国人在内,认为亚裔美国人上的是诸如斯坦福、耶鲁之类的名校,数学成绩很不错,开着店,赚了不少钱。”而百人会2009年时的调查也发现,57%的民众相信亚裔美国人在普遍意义上“经常或总是比其他美国人更为成功”,该印象自2001年起未有改变。

加拉格尔指出,实际上,很多华裔美国人和其他亚裔美国人一样,手头紧张、居住环境糟糕且无充分的医疗保障。“这些亚裔美国人没有渠道实现美国梦,工作没有发展空间,孩子也常常陷于类似的窘境。”这其中,柬埔寨裔美国人、苗族美国人(Hmong American)的贫困发生率尤高,但美国媒体鲜少关注他们的困境。“我们惯于报道历史遗留下来的不平等问题,比如非裔美国人所面临的问题,但不喜欢谈论其他少数族裔美国人的问题。”加拉格尔说,“谈及亚裔美国人,媒体往往只报道‘模范’族裔的成功故事,但这并不代表所有亚裔美国人的状况。”

来自中国、菲律宾、印度、韩国和其他亚洲国家的少数族裔美国人早已意识到,他们的规模在所在的城镇或城市所占的比例极小。“市政厅派发福利,他们难以从中分得一杯羹。但是,他们会团结起来,壮大人数,一般通过影响消防队、警察局和学校的方式来表达社区的政治诉求。”加拉格尔说。

科罗拉多大学(University of Colorado)博尔德校区历史学教授、华裔美国人魏先生(William Wei,音译)称,助推民众区分亚裔美国人的努力之一是推进相关历史和文化的研究,“最近数十年来,这些研究尤显重要,因为亚裔美国人的相关历史和文化最终被纳入美国教育的主流内容。”

不过,2012年,美国调查机构皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)公布的数据显示,仅有19%的亚裔美国人称自己为“亚裔美国人”或“亚洲人”。62%有亚洲血统的美国人更愿意以自己的国家来称呼自己,比如“中国人”或“华裔美国人”、“越南人”或“越南裔美国人”等。另有14%的人则干脆称自己为“美国人”。

调查还发现,亚裔美国人中,出生地非美国,后移民至美国的人更喜欢以原先的国家来定义自我身份,这一比例达到69%。相比之下,出生地为美国的亚裔中,28%的人称自己为“美国人”,愿意以原先的国家来定义自我身份者比例下降至43%。

加州大学黑斯廷斯法学院(UC Hastings College of Law)负责人、华裔评论员吴先生(Frank H. Wu,音译)对这些调查结果并不感到意外,“亚洲人没有‘泛亚洲’情结,‘团结的亚洲’这一概念是帝国主义所鼓吹的,或是理想主义者所标榜的。事实上,人们更愿意称自己为中国人、日本人、韩国人、菲律宾人或印度人等。他们不会简单说一句‘我是亚洲人’。”

加拉格尔则称,若华裔美国人和其他亚裔美国人在美国定居一代人及以上,则比其他族裔美国人更容易吸收当地文化。“如果你是亚裔家庭的第三代或第四代人,那么言行举止不必像祖籍国民众那样,因为你没有移民经历,你就是一个‘美国人’。”

http://news.uschinapress.com/2014/0902/990806.shtml

卡拉 09-02-2014 17:54
Source: VOA
Michael Lipin
August 31, 2014 8:30 AM
[attachment=74965]
Chicago's Chinatown at Chinese New Year, February 17, 2013

WASHINGTON—
Defining ethnic groups by race creates problems because doing so is largely a subjective exercise.  And such definitions are made by outsiders. For example, it was Whites who created the “Negro” race label to homogenize the multiple ethnic groups they conquered in Africa.

Asian Americans suffer from similar definitions. The larger American society tends to lump ethnic Asians together because of its inability to make distinctions between ethnic Cambodians, Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese, for example, despite obvious differences in linguistic heritage, religious affiliations and even physical traits.

The need to group separate ethnicities is what sociologists call “racial lumping.” In this second of three reports on U.S. public attitudes toward Chinese Americans, VOA highlights the impact of "lumping" on Chinese Americans.

Also in this series, VOA examines two other common stereotypes of Chinese Americans: perceptions of them as "model" minority citizens and perpetual "foreigners" in the United States. – Editor

Why lumping is a problem

Social commentators in the United States say the public has shown a persistent tendency to label Chinese Americans as part of a generic Asian ethnic group in recent years, creating problems for the country's rapidly growing Asian communities.

The observers say Americans typically "lump" Chinese Americans who have a "successful" public image in the same group as other ethnic Asian citizens whose livelihood struggles are little understood. They say such "lumping" has made U.S. society ignorant to hardships suffered by all of its Asian minorities. It also has prompted some ethnic Asian communities to join forces to help their members overcome such struggles.

While Chinese Americans represent the largest group of Americans with Asian roots, they account for just 20% of all Asian Americans. Figures for both segments of the population have risen sharply in the past decade.
[attachment=74971]

Ignorance lingers

The last major survey of American opinion about ethnic Chinese U.S. citizens found that the majority of the general population "cannot make meaningful distinctions between Chinese Americans and Asian Americans in general."

The 2009 report by the Committee of 100, a New York-based organization of prominent Chinese Americans, said the pervasiveness of Asian American "lumping" in public opinion was the same as in its earlier 2001 survey.

A contributor to the 2009 study, Chinese American rights activist and former journalist Helen Zia, says "lumping" remains common in 2014.

"The public's lack of consciousness about who we are, where we come from, and how we are not all the same, is pretty much stuck where it's been," Zia says. "It’s like a broken record."

Charles Gallagher, a sociology professor at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, says many Americans are oblivious to the cultural, linguistic and historical differences between the country's Asian ethnic groups.


"Most whites and blacks think all Asian Americans go to (prestigious universities like) Stanford and Yale, are good in math, and own shops where they make lots of money," Gallagher says.

The Committee of 100's 2009 survey found that 57 percent of American respondents believe Asian Americans "often or always achieve a higher degree of overall success than other Americans." It said those perceptions were unchanged from 2001.

Highlighting the true picture

Gallagher says that in reality, many Chinese and other Asian Americans are struggling financially, live in poor neighborhoods and lack sufficient health care.
[attachment=74966]
Street musician in Manhattan Chinatown, New York City (October 2013)

​"Those Asian Americans do not have the means to achieve the American dream. They are in jobs that they cannot advance from, and their children are going to face the same situation," he says.

Gallagher says Cambodian and Hmong Americans have particularly high rates of poverty, but their plight gets little coverage in the U.S. media.

"As a nation we are obsessed with focusing on historic inequalities such as those involving whites and blacks, and we don't like to talk about other ethnic groups," he says. "When it comes to Asian groups, the media conversation is about "model" minority success stories, but that does not give people a full understanding of the huge variety of experiences that Asian Americans have."

Some Asian minority groups in the United States have responded to racial "lumping" by creating joint organizations to advance the well-being of their communities.

Gallagher says organizations such as OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates and Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC)  identify themselves as "Asian American" because that is the label that most Americans use for them anyway.
[attachment=74967]
Children in Chicago 'graduate' from a Chinese American Service League program of bilingual and bicultural affordable daycare on August 22, 2013

​He says Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Korean and other Asian American communities also realize that they each represent only a tiny percentage of the population of their towns and cities.

"They found themselves in a situation in which they were not going to get any resources from the city hall pie. But, by coming together, they have strength in numbers and more leverage with firefighters, police and schools to achieve the political needs of their communities."

William Wei, a Chinese American professor of history at the University of Colorado in Boulder, says another response of Asian minorities to the "lumping" stereotype has been the development of educational programs for Asian American studies.


"These programs have been at the forefront of spreading knowledge about Asian American history and culture," Wei says. "They have been very important in recent decades, because they produced Asian American scholarship that eventually made its way into mainstream U.S. education."

One organization that promotes such scholarship is the Association for Asian American Studies. Founded in 1979, its list of universities with Asian American studies courses and departments has grown into the dozens.

Other forms of self-identification

While some U.S. citizens with Chinese and other Asian origins have embraced the "Asian American" label, most have not.

​A 2012 study by U.S. opinion poll organization Pew Research Center showed that only 19 percent of Asian Americans actually describe themselves as "Asian American" or "Asian."
[attachment=74968]

It said 62 percent of Americans with Asian ethnicity most often described themselves by their country of origin, such as "Chinese" or "Chinese American," "Vietnamese" or "Vietnamese American," and so on. Another 14 percent said they simply call themselves "American."

Pew found that among Asian Americans who were born abroad and immigrated to the United States, the rate of self-identification by country of origin was higher, at 69 percent.
[attachment=74969]

Frank H. Wu, a Chinese American commentator who heads the University of California Hastings College of the Law, says those findings do not surprise him.

"People in Asia don't identify with pan-Asian sensibilities," Wu says. "The notion of a 'united Asia' is associated with imperialism or idealism. People identify much more specifically as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino or Indian and so on. They don't say, 'I'm an Asian'."

Among U.S.-born Americans of Asian origin, Pew said the proportion who prefer to call themselves "American" rose to 28 percent, while the rate of self-identification by country of origin fell to 43 percent.
[attachment=74970]

Sociologist Gallagher says Chinese and other Asian Americans whose families have been in the United States for one or more generations have assimilated into American culture much faster than other ethnic minorities.

"If you are a third or fourth-generation Asian American, you do not necessarily think and behave like people from your ancestral homeland," Gallagher says.

"You don't have that immigrant experience any longer. You're an 'American'."

But will immigrants from China and their descendants ever escape the "Asian” label that is so engrained in society?

It is conceivable. When the U.S. Census Bureau makes racial distinctions, it says they are a reflection of the country's prevailing social attitudes, rather than an attempt to define race "biologically, anthropologically, or genetically."

Historically, many Americans once labeled Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants as non-White races.  Today, the U.S. Census Bureau gives individuals the freedom to identify themselves as they wish.

Graphics by Idrees Ali. Additional research by Haleema Shah.

http://www.voanews.com/content/us-publics-labeling-of-chinese-americans-as-asians-poses-challenges/1955178.html


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