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[经济学人] [2010.02.11] Move your shadow 挥去你的阴霾

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发表于 2010-4-29 00:39 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Race in America
美国的种族问题


Move your shadow
挥去你的阴霾


Feb 11th 2010 | From The Economist print edition



Street Shadows. By Jerald Walker. Bantam; 240 pages; $25. Buy from Amazon.com
《街头阴影》 杰拉德•沃克著

AS A boy, Jerald Walker was a drug addict and a drop-out. “I wasn’t sure of much of anything,” he writes about his childhood in the projects on Chicago’s South Side, “only that I was out of coke and it was important to be drunk until I got some more.” Mr Walker grew up to be a gifted student who filled his parents and teachers with high hopes. Yet, as a boy, he was surrounded by kids who sought empowerment in crime. It was easier for him to succumb to the “urban undertow” than to be singled out for achievement.

杰拉德•沃克在少年时期是个瘾君子和辍学者。“我不确定很多事情”,他这样描述自己在芝加哥南部的居民村中度过的孩童时期,“无论什么东西我所知均甚少, 我只知道可卡因用光了, 在设法弄到新的可卡因前, 把自己灌醉很要紧。”沃克逐渐成长为一个资优生,父母和老师都对他寄予厚望。然而,这个男孩的周围全是在犯罪中寻求权利的同龄人。于他而言,难抵诱惑而成为“城市浪子”,要比因成就而脱颖而出更加容易

Mr Walker is now a professor of English at a state college in Massachusetts, far from the streets he used to haunt as a thug. He has written an inspiring book about wilfully redirecting his life. But this is also a larger story about racial self-consciousness. A generation removed from the civil-rights era, when the big battles have been won and America has a black president, Mr Walker considers the residual scuffles. Students in Iowa flinch when they see him; women sometimes clutch their handbags; security guards occasionally follow him in shops. “Silly, all of it,” he concedes, “confirmation that the bigotry my parents faced no longer exists.” Most of the time he can laugh it off, but not always. This is an insightful account of what it means to be black in America.

沃克没有在他以往混迹的街头上成为一个恶棍,恰恰相反,现在他是麻省一所州立大学的英语教授。他写了一本鼓舞人心的书,讲述他执意的人生改道历程。但就更大的背景来看,这也是一个关于种族自我意识的故事。对于这一代人来说,民权运动时期已渐行渐远,民权运动者已取得胜利,而且美国也有了一位黑人总统。沃克则认为种族偏见的残余影响仍不可小觑。在爱荷华,学生看到他便躲开,妇女往往看到他便紧攥着手提包。在商店里,保安有时会跟随在他身后。“这些举动非常的愚蠢。”他承认道:“这也证明了我父母那代人所面临的偏见已经一去不复返了。”大多数时间他能对此一笑而过,但也并不总能这么洒脱。美国黑人意味着什么?这本书对此见解深刻。

Raised by loving parents, who happened to be blind and part of a religious cult, Mr Walker takes to drugs and delinquency guided by a big brother. After years of crime and poverty, he hits rock bottom when a friend is murdered. At 21 he decides to clean up his act. He goes back to school, where a creative-writing professor at a community college (white, kindly, ponytailed) ultimately changes his life. “What wonderful material you have,” he says of young Jerald’s autobiographical stories. Offering both financial and psychological support, he introduces him to the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop and suggests the life of a writer. Mr Walker works hard and is accepted. He also falls in love, gets married, and discovers that his life keeps moving forward, despite his expectation that he would die young.

沃克由慈爱的父母抚养长大,他父母是盲人,狂热的信奉异教。受一个老大哥的教唆,沃克接触了毒品和犯罪。在犯罪和贫穷中沉沦数年之后,因一位朋友被谋杀,沃克受到沉重打击,陷入低谷。他在21岁时浪子回头,重新步入校园,在这所社区大学,一位创意写作教授(亲切友善,梳着马尾的白人)最终改变了他的一生。“你有着多么精彩的素材啊,”这位教授对沃克的自传故事如此评价道。他同时向沃克提供了经济及精神上的支持,还将其介绍进知名的爱荷华作家工作坊并建议他成为作家。沃克勤奋的工作并接受了教授的建议。他同时陷入爱河,随后步入了婚姻的殿堂,沃克发觉自己在人生旅途上不断前进着,尽管他预计自己将英年早逝。

Mr Walker shifts between this aspirational narrative and the one that tugs him back. A chapter about a tense adult moment at a sushi restaurant is followed by a chapter in which he steals 40 typewriters and vandalises his school. The juxtaposition illustrates a fascinating range of lived experience and captures the way the past still haunts the author. His days of desperation are never so far away.

书中,沃克先生在两种场景里切换着:有抱负的叙述和过往生活的回忆。他用一个章节讲述了在一家寿司餐厅紧张的成人时刻,而下一章笔锋一转,写了他偷窃40台打字机并破坏学校财物的故事。这种交叉重叠的叙述手法说明了过往的生活经历和记忆仍然萦绕在作者心中。那些绝望的日子从未远离,并不如烟。

His racial unease is palpable throughout the book, and informs most of his decisions. A particularly powerful chapter recalls a trip to Africa that Mr Walker expected would grant “a sense of belonging, a sense of place”. In fact, he and his wife are rejected as neither black nor white. “Why do you people call yourselves African-Americans?” one man demands. “Do you know that you insult Africans when you say that you are one of us?”

贯穿全书,明显的体现出了沃克的种族不安感,这种不安感也渗入了他的大多数抉择中。这在书中一个章节表现的特别强烈,在此章,沃克回忆了他的非洲之旅。原先他希望此次旅行能收获到“一种归属感、一种存在感。”但事实上,沃克夫妇在那里没有被视作是白人抑或是黑人,而被当作是美国人。“为什么你们这些家伙自称是非洲裔美国人?”当地一名男子质问道:“你们知道吗,你们自称是我们中的一员,这是在侮辱我们!”

Later, Mr Walker concedes, “I am a racist.” Like a recovering alcoholic, he admits this frailty so that he can guard against it. But his confession, while brazen, is also redundant. As his book makes clear, racism of a sort—latent, systemic or otherwise—is a simple fact of life in America. Destiny is another matter.

后来,沃克承认:“我是一个种族主义者。”就像恢复健康的酗酒者,他承认了这一弱点以便自己能防范它。然而他的坦白虽然无耻,但同时也是多此一举。正如他书中清楚表现的那样,这类潜在的、系统的或相反的观念也是一种种族主义,这是生活在美国所造成的简单事实。而命运则是另一回事了。



译注:
最后一段一开始没能读懂,尤其是“种族主义”那部分,搜素了一番,查看了一下对此人此书的其他报道。 最后把沃克的这种种族主义理解为“(非洲裔)美国人对非洲人的歧视或优越感。”
请各位指正。
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发表于 2010-4-29 01:19 | 显示全部楼层
末段有点难懂
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发表于 2010-4-29 01:59 | 显示全部楼层
AS A boy, Jerald Walker was a drug addict and a drop-out. “I wasn’t sure of much of anything,” he writes about his childhood in the projects on Chicago’s South Side, “only that I was out of coke and it was important to be drunk until I got some more.” Mr Walker grew up to be a gifted student who filled his parents and teachers with high hopes. Yet, as a boy, he was surrounded by kids who sought empowerment in crime. It was easier for him to succumb to the “urban undertow” than to be singled out for achievement.
杰拉德•沃克在少年时期是个瘾君子和辍学者。“我不确定很多事情”,他这样描述自己在芝加哥南部的居民村中度过的孩童时期,“只是在得到更多之前,我缺少可卡因,而且喝醉是件重要的事。”沃克逐渐成长为一个资优生,父母和老师都对他寄予厚望。然而,这个男孩的周围全是在犯罪中寻求权利的同龄人。对他来说,屈服于“城市暗潮”要比出人头地容易得多。

only that I was out of coke and it was important to be drunk until I got some more
感觉应当是:在我找到更重要的事之前,只是沉迷可卡因并以飘飘然为乐事
It was easier for him to succumb to the “urban undertow” than to be singled out for achievement
感觉是:于他而言,难抵诱惑而成为“城市浪子”,要比因成就而脱颖而出更加容易
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发表于 2010-4-29 02:39 | 显示全部楼层
I wasn’t sure of much of anything, only that I was out of coke and it was important to be drunk until I got some more.”

无论什么东西我所知均甚少, 我只知道可卡因用光了, 在设法弄到新的可卡因前, 把自己灌醉很要紧。
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:19 | 显示全部楼层
这才是正解
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:59 | 显示全部楼层
谢谢指点,鞠躬。
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发表于 2010-4-29 04:39 | 显示全部楼层
看到您的这句我豁然开朗了。谢谢。
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