双语阅读 | 唐人街与中餐:美国华人的身份认同

双语阅读 | 唐人街与中餐:美国华人的身份认同
困难 3966


Chinatown and Chinese Food: The Identity of Chinese Diaspora in U.S.

胡锦源 供稿

The term “overseas Chinese” derives its origin from the first mass migration from China during the mid-19th century. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, the first generation of Chinese immigrants arrived at the port of San Francisco and formed the oldest and largest Chinatown in the United States. The massive influx of immigrant population led to the friction between the local community and Chinese, giving rise to the discrimination and xenophobia that culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Act banned Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens and confined them to limited types of jobs. At that time, Chinatowns serve as an enclave of asylum for Chinese against the prevailing violence and injustice.

“海外华人”一词源于19世纪中叶的首次大规模华人移民潮。受1848年加利福尼亚的淘金热影响,第一批华人移民抵达旧金山港口,在美国建立起了最古老、规模最大的唐人街。移民人口的大量涌入引发了当地社群与华人之间的摩擦,使得歧视与排外之风盛行,并最终导致了1882年《排华法案》的颁布。该法案剥夺了华人移民成为入籍公民的权利,并限制了他们所能从事的工作类别。那时,唐人街成为了海外华侨的庇护所,保护他们免受当时盛行的暴力与不公侵害。

The last century witnessed the transformation of the pattern and functions of Chinatowns as the population of American Chinese increased and grew diversified due to the changes in immigrant legislation and global policies. Different from their parents who remained politically and culturally loyal to their homeland, the American-born second-generation Chinese Americans were less likely to pledge alliance to their motherland. The fact that being a Chinese often meant being ostracized and abused made them oscillate between the identities they were born with and they identify with themselves. Growing up outside the Chinese communities and lacking contact with Chinese people and culture, they had to search for their identity in a land where they seemed to be in between two worlds. It is Chinatowns that helped them retrieve their cultural heritage and embark on a journey of self-discovery. They once served as the safe havens for the newly arrived Chinese immigrants. Now they are places as well as concepts, expressing a desire to go back to find those things that make up the culture and identity of Chinese expatriates.

上个世纪以来,随着移民法案和全球政策的变化,美国华人的人口数量增加,组成也更为多元,唐人街的模式和功能也历经了转型。第一代美国华人对自己的祖国仍存有政治和文化上的归属感,不同的是,出生在美国的第二代华人与祖国之间并没有深厚的情感联系。由于身为中国人常常意味着受到排挤和屈辱,他们会在与生俱来的身份和自己认同的身份之间摇摆不定。他们的成长环境远离华人社区,缺少与华人与中国文化的接触,不得不在两个世界的缝隙间探索自我身份。正是唐人街帮助他们重新认识了故土的文化遗产,踏上追寻自我的旅途。唐人街曾是刚刚踏上新土地的华人移民的避风港,而如今,唐人街不仅是一个具象的地点,也是一个抽象的概念,寄托了海外华侨追寻自身文化和身份认同的愿望。

Apart from serving the practical needs of Chinese community, Chinatowns are a primary means through which Chinese-style foods have been introduced and sustained in the United States. As Chinese cuisine thrives in the United States, American Chinese continue to negotiate their ethnic identities through food, carrying with them their cultural values and traditions while adapting themselves into American society. The ubiquity of Chinese restaurants in the United States reflects the degree to which Chinese food has transformed the American palate. In addition, restaurateurs and chefs are constantly negotiating between new flavors and accommodating the American stomach. The mix of Chinese spices and cooking methods with American ingredients shows how American Chinese are immersed in both Chinese and American values and culture. For those who grew up eating dishes such as orange chicken, crab Rangoon, and General Tao’s Chicken, their taste of home is American Chinese food, which is a sign of a cultural identity remaining in a state of flux. Its abiding appeal demonstrates how culture keeps itself alive through dynamic, diverse, and transformative interactions.

唐人街不仅解决了华人团体的实际需求,也是中餐打入美国市场并经久不衰的主要手段。随着中餐业在美国蓬勃发展,美国华人持续通过食物进行民族身份的交流与互动,一边保留了自身的文化价值和传统,一边融入美国社会。在美国,中餐馆的无处不在也反映了中餐影响美国人口味的程度。中餐馆经营者在不断推出新口味的同时也顾及到了美国人的喜好。将中国的香辛料和烹饪方法与美国的食材融合的做法体现了美国华人如何同时受到了中美两种价值和文化的熏陶。对于那些吃着陈皮鸡、炸蟹角和左宗棠鸡长大的人来说,家乡的味道其实就是美式中餐——这一承载着不断变化的文化身份的符号。美式中餐持久的吸引力展现了文化如何通过动态、多样和新颖的互动方式维持着源源不断的生命力。

Vocabulary
xenophobia n. 排外心理
culminate v. 告终
ostracize v. 排挤
oscillate v. 摇摆
ubiquity n. 无处不在

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  • 来源:胡锦源 2020-09-07