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被遗忘的美国工人阶级 – 译学馆
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被遗忘的美国工人阶级

America's forgotten working class | J.D. Vance

我还记得第一次走进一家很棒的餐厅
I remember the very first time I went to a nice restaurant,
非常高档
a really nice restaurant.
那是一家律师事务所的招新晚宴
It was for a law firm recruitment dinner,
晚宴开始前 服务生四处游走
and I remember beforehand the waitress walked around
询问客人是否需要点葡萄酒
and asked whether we wanted some wine,
我说 “好吧 给我来点白葡萄酒”
so I said, “Sure, I’ll take some white wine.”
她马上问我
And she immediately said,
“您是想要白苏维翁还是霞多丽?”
“Would you like sauvignon blanc or chardonnay?”
我当时想
And I remember thinking,
“天哪 姐们儿 别整这些高大上的法语词行吗
“Come on, lady, stop with the fancy French words
给我一杯白葡萄酒就好了”
and just give me some white wine.”
但我发挥了自己杰出的推理能力
But I used my powers of deduction
猜测霞多丽和白苏维翁
and recognized that chardonnay and sauvignon blanc
应该是两种不同的白葡萄酒
were two separate types of white wine,
于是我要了霞多丽
and so I told her that I would take the chardonnay,
因为这个词更好发音
because frankly that was the easiest one to pronounce for me.
类似经历还有很多
So I had a lot of experiences like that
尤其是我在耶鲁大学读法律的头几年
during my first couple of years as a law student at Yale,
因为我不是他们圈子里的人 尽管看起来像
because, despite all outward appearances, I’m a cultural outsider.
但我出身平凡
I didn’t come from the elites.
不是东北一带的人 也不是旧金山人
I didn’t come from the Northeast or from San Francisco.
我的老家是俄亥俄州南部一个钢铁小镇
I came from a southern Ohio steel town,
它一直在挣扎求生
and it’s a town that’s really struggling in a lot of ways,
那种挣扎彷徨 就像美国工人阶级
ways that are indicative of the broader struggles
如今的处境一般
of America’s working class.
海洛因泛滥
Heroin has moved in,
很多人因此丧生 其中有我的熟人
killing a lot of people, people I know.
家庭暴力和离婚导致许多家庭支离破碎
Family violence, domestic violence, and divorce have torn apart families.
有一种异常悲观的情绪蔓延开来
And there’s a very unique sense of pessimism that’s moved in.
死亡率不断升高
Think about rising mortality rates in these communities
很多人都意识到这一点
and recognize that for a lot of these folks,
而他们亲眼见到的问题
the problems that they’re seeing
正是导致社区死亡率升高的原因
are actually causing rising death rates in their own communities,
这种挣扎彷徨的感受是如此真切
so there’s a very real sense of struggle.
而我正是这种感受的亲历者
I had a very front-row seat to that struggle.
我的家庭长期以来一直经历着这种彷徨挣扎
My family has been part of that struggle for a very long time.
我生于一个不甚富裕的家庭
I come from a family that doesn’t have a whole lot of money.
而在我们社区蔓延的毒品问题
The addiction that plagued my community
同样伤害到了我的家庭 很不幸 是我的母亲
also plagued my family, and even, sadly, my own mom.
我亲眼见到了家里的很多问题
There were a lot of problems that I saw in my own family,
这些问题的起因 有的是因为缺钱
problems caused sometimes by a lack of money,
有的是因为缺乏社会资源和人脉
problems caused sometimes by a lack of access to resources and social capital
而这对我的影响很大
that really affected my life.
如果你见过我14岁时的生活
If you had looked at my life when I was 14 years old
并问到 “这孩子将来会怎么样?”
and said, “Well, what’s going to happen to this kid?”
你也许会认为我会挣扎着往上爬
you would have concluded that I would have struggled
学术界管这叫“向上流动”
with what academics call upward mobility.
向上流动是一个抽象的术语
So upward mobility is an abstract term,
但它触及到了美国梦
but it strikes at something that’s very core
最核心的部分
at the heart of the American Dream.
它是一个标准
It’s the sense,
能衡量那些像我一样
and it measures whether kids like me
家境贫寒的孩子 能不能过上好日子
who grow up in poor communities are going to live a better life,
是否能有机会过上物质上更好的生活
whether they’re going to have a chance to live a materially better existence,
还是说会继续贫穷下去
or whether they’re going to stay in the circumstances where they came from.
但不幸的是 我们了解到
And one of the things we’ve learned, unfortunately,
在美国 向上流动并没有我们想象的那么容易
is that upward mobility isn’t as high as we’d like it to be in this country,
而且有趣的是 它跟地域有很大关系
and interestingly, it’s very geographically distributed.
就拿犹他州来说
So take Utah, for instance.
在犹他州 一个穷孩子可能会过得还好
In Utah a poor kid is actually doing OK,
很可能在美国梦中找到自己的位置
very likely to live their share and their part in the American Dream.
但如果在我的家乡
But if you think of where I’m from,
南部 阿巴拉契亚地区 俄亥俄州南部
in the South, in Appalachia, in southern Ohio,
穷孩子可能就没什么出路
it’s very unlikely that kids like that will rise.
从某种意义上来说 美国梦在这些地方
The American Dream in those parts of the country
可能真的就只是个梦
is in a very real sense just a dream.
为什么会这样呢?
So why is that happening?
原因之一显然是经济上的或结构上的
So one reason is obviously economic or structural.
看看这些地区
So you think of these areas.
它们的经济形势很不好
They’re beset by these terrible economic trends,
当年依靠煤炭和钢铁起家
built around industries like coal and steel
如今这些产业已经没落
that make it harder for folks to get ahead.
这肯定是原因之一
That’s certainly one problem.
还有一个问题就是人才流失 有很多人才
There’s also the problem of brain drain, where the really talented people,
因为在家乡找不到有技术含量的工作
because they can’t find high-skilled work at home,
只能远走他乡
end up moving elsewhere,
他们无法在老家创业 造福社会
so they don’t build a business or non-profit where they’re from,
就只能带着自己的才华远赴他乡
they end up going elsewhere and taking their talents with them.
这些地区有很多衰败的学校
There are failing schools in a lot of these communities,
无法给予孩子们更好的教育
failing to give kids the educational leg up
因此无法帮助他们在未来占得先机
that really makes it possible for kids to have opportunities later in life.
这些事都很重要
These things are all important.
我并不是说要忽视结构壁垒
I don’t mean to discount these structural barriers.
但是当我回首人生 回想我们社区
But when I look back at my life and my community,
发现还有一些其它事情也与之有关
something else was going on, something else mattered.
这些事情很难量化 但是却真实存在
It’s difficult to quantify, but it was no less real.
首先 在我成长的社区
So for starters, there was a very real sense of hopelessness
你能真切感受到那种无望的氛围
in the community that I grew up in.
孩子们觉得自己的选择毫无意义
There was a sense that kids had that their choices didn’t matter.
无论他们如何努力
No matter what happened, no matter how hard they worked,
如何努力向前
no matter how hard they tried to get ahead,
结果都是一样
nothing good would happen.
这种消极的情绪四处蔓延
So that’s a tough feeling to grow up around.
命定论甚嚣尘上
That’s a tough mindset to penetrate,
甚至有点阴谋论的味道
and it leads sometimes to very conspiratorial places.
以非常热门的一个政治话题为例
So let’s just take one political issue that’s pretty hot,
平权法案
affirmative action.
基于政治观点 你也许会认为平权法案
So depending on your politics, you might think that affirmative action
在推动工作场所或者学校的多样性上
is either a wise or an unwise way to promote diversity in the workplace
是否明智的
or the classroom.
但如果你成长于这样的社区
But if you grow up in an area like this,
你可能会把平权法案看作是一种限制
you see affirmative action as a tool to hold people like you back.
尤其当你是白人工人阶级的一员时
That’s especially true if you’re a member of the white working class.
在你眼里 它不再是 一个简单的好政策或者坏政策
You see it as something that isn’t just about good or bad policy.
你会把它看成是
You see it as something that’s actively conspiring,
那些握有政治或财政大权的人
where people with political and financial power
来压迫你的工具
are working against you.
你可以从不同角度 来看待这种针对你的阴谋论——
And there are a lot of ways that you see that conspiracy against you —
可察觉的 真实的 且它确实存在
perceived, real, but it’s there,
而且会扭曲你的期望
and it warps expectations.
想象一下 成长在那样的环境中 你该怎么办
So if you think about what do you do when you grow up in that world,
可能应对方法有很多种
you can respond in a couple of ways.
第一种 你可以说 “我才不会努力奋斗
One, you can say, “I’m not going to work hard,
因为无论怎样努力 结果都一样”
because no matter how hard I work, it’s not going to matter.”
而另一种方式就是
Another thing you might do is say,
“好吧 我不会追求传统意义上的成功
“Well, I’m not going to go after the traditional markers of success,
比如上大学 或者找份体面的工作
like a university education or a prestigious job,
因为重视这些事的人跟我不是一类人
because the people who care about those things are unlike me.
他们不会接纳我”
They’re never going to let me in.”
当我被耶鲁大学录取后 一个亲戚问我
When I got admitted to Yale, a family member asked me
我该不该假装成民主党成员 来获得招生委员会的认可
if I had pretended to be a liberal to get by the admissions committee.
真事儿
Seriously.
入学申请表上当然没有“民主党成员”这个选项
And it’s obviously not the case that there was a liberal box to check
让你勾选
on the application,
但这件事道出了一个事实 就是我们那里非常缺乏安全感
but it speaks to a very real insecurity in these places
你需要伪装成另一种人
that you have to pretend to be somebody you’re not
才能越过重重社会壁垒
to get past these various social barriers.
这是一个非常重要的问题
It’s a very significant problem.
即便你没有感到无望
Even if you don’t give in to that hopelessness,
即使你坚定的认为
even if you think, let’s say,
你的选择是有意义的 你想做出好的选择
that your choices matter and you want to make the good choices,
你想为了自己和家庭努力奋斗
you want to do better for yourself and for your family,
但生长在我那样的社区
it’s sometimes hard to even know what those choices are
你甚至都不知道有哪些路可以选
when you grow up in a community like I did.
像我小时候
I didn’t know, for example,
不知道想成为律师 要先上法学院
that you had to go to law school to be a lawyer.
不知道一流的大学 就像研究一直表明的那样
I didn’t know that elite universities, as research consistently tells us,
对于贫困的孩子收费要低
are cheaper for low-income kids
因为好大学得到的捐款更多
because these universities have bigger endowments,
可以给学生更多资助
can offer more generous financial aid.
直到我收到耶鲁大学的助学津贴信
I remember I learned this
我才知道有这么回事
when I got the financial aid letter from Yale for myself,
那是上万美元的按需资助
tens of thousands of dollars in need-based aid,
我以前连听都没听过
which is a term I had never heard before.
我拿着信对我阿姨说
But I turned to my aunt when I got that letter and said,
“这是我有生以来第一次
“You know, I think this just means that for the first time in my life,
因为穷得到的实惠”
being poor has paid really well.”
我之前不了解这方面的信息
So I didn’t have access to that information
是因为我周围的圈子 都不知道这些信息
because the social networks around me didn’t have access to that information.
我从社区学到的是 如何开枪 如何打得准
I learned from my community how to shoot a gun, how to shoot it well.
我学到的是如何做好吃的饼干
I learned how to make a damn good biscuit recipe.
顺便提一句 诀窍是 用冰冻的黄油 不要用加热的
The trick, by the way, is frozen butter, not warm butter.
但我不知道如何出人头地
But I didn’t learn how to get ahead.
不知道在关键时刻如何抉择
I didn’t learn how to make the good decisions
比如选择大学 面临机遇
about education and opportunity
怎样才能做出对的选择
that you need to make
从而在21世纪这个知识经济时代赢得一席之地
to actually have a chance in this 21st century knowledge economy.
经济学家将我们从朋友、同事和家人构成的
Economists call the value that we gain from our informal networks,
人脉圈子中获取的价值 叫做“社会资本”
from our friends and colleagues and family “social capital.”
而我过去的社会资本根本不适用于21世纪的美国
The social capital that I had wasn’t built for 21st century America,
事实也证明了这一点
and it showed.
还有一些非常重要的事情
There’s something else that’s really important that’s going on
我们的社区不愿意谈起
that our community doesn’t like to talk about,
但它们又真实存在
but it’s very real.
工人阶级的孩子更多的
Working-class kids are much more likely
要面临所谓的“不利的童年经历”
to face what’s called adverse childhood experiences,
其实这就是对童年创伤 一种比较委婉的说法:
which is just a fancy word for childhood trauma:
被家长不停打骂和惩罚
getting hit or yelled at, put down by a parent repeatedly,
目睹他人殴打自己的父母
watching someone hit or beat your parent,
目睹别人吸毒或者酗酒
watching someone do drugs or abuse alcohol.
这都是童年创伤的例子
These are all instances of childhood trauma,
在我家这些现象很常见
and they’re pretty commonplace in my family.
重要的是 这种情况不是现在才有
Importantly, they’re not just commonplace in my family right now.
而是延续了好几代人
They’re also multigenerational.
我的外公外婆
So my grandparents,
在他们刚有了孩子的时候
the very first time that they had kids,
他们原本也期望用好的方法
they expected that they were going to raise them in a way
将孩子养育成人
that was uniquely good.
他们曾属于中产阶级
They were middle class,
在炼钢厂有不错的薪水
they were able to earn a good wage in a steel mill.
但结果却是
But what ended up happening
他们给孩子们带来了许多童年创伤
is that they exposed their kids to a lot of the childhood trauma
跟早几代人的处境没什么区别
that had gone back many generations.
我母亲12岁那年 看见我外婆在我外公身上点火
My mom was 12 when she saw my grandma set my grandfather on fire.
就因为他喝得醉醺醺地回家
His crime was that he came home drunk
而外婆事先警告过他
after she told him,
“如果你喝醉酒回家 我就要杀了你”
“If you come home drunk, I’m gonna kill you.”
结果 她真的试着这么做了
And she tried to do it.
想想这样的事会对孩子的心灵 产生怎样的影响
Think about the way that that affects a child’s mind.
我们可能会认为这只是个别现象
And we think of these things as especially rare,
但威斯康辛儿童信托基金的研究表明
but a study by the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund found
低收入家庭的孩子遭受多种童年创伤的几率为40%
that 40 percent of low-income kids face multiple instances of childhood trauma,
而高收入家庭的孩子为29%
compared to only 29 percent for upper-income kids.
想想这意味着什么
And think about what that really means.
如果你们都出生在低收入家庭
If you’re a low-income kid,
你们中间差不多会有一半的人会遭遇多种童年创伤
almost half of you face multiple instances of childhood trauma.
这不是一个孤立的问题
This is not an isolated problem.
这是一个非常值得我们注意的问题
This is a very significant issue.
我们都清楚 这样的孩子会经历怎样的人生
We know what happens to the kids who experience that life.
他们很可能会吸毒 会进监狱
They’re more likely to do drugs, more likely to go to jail,
会从高中辍学
more likely to drop out of high school,
最重要的是
and most importantly,
他们很可能会在自己的孩子身上
they’re more likely to do to their children
重复父母对自己的所作所为
what their parents did to them.
这种伤害 这种家庭的混乱
This trauma, this chaos in the home,
是我们的文化给孩子最糟糕的礼物
is our culture’s very worst gift to our children,
而这种礼物还在不停地被送出
and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
把这些都加在一起
So you combine all that,
无望 绝望
the hopelessness, the despair,
对未来的怀疑
the cynicism about the future,
童年的创伤
the childhood trauma,
低社会资本
the low social capital,
你就会了解 为什么我
and you begin to understand why me,
在14岁那年
at the age of 14,
几乎就要成为又一个例子
was ready to become just another statistic,
被这些壁垒困死的又一个孩子
another kid who failed to beat the odds.
但意料之外的事情发生了
But something unexpected happened.
我冲破了这些壁垒
I did beat the odds.
事情出现了转机
Things turned up for me.
我念完高中 上了大学 进入法学院
I graduated from high school, from college, I went to law school,
找到了一份不错的工作
and I have a pretty good job now.
究竟发生了什么呢?
So what happened?
首先是我的外公外婆
Well, one thing that happened is that my grandparents,
就是尝试在人身上点火的外公外婆
the same grandparents of setting someone on fire fame,
在我出生之后 改过自新了
they really shaped up by the time I came around.
他们给了我一个稳定的家
They provided me a stable home,
稳定的家庭
a stable family.
他们竭尽全力
They made sure
在我的父母无法尽到责任时
that when my parents weren’t able to do the things that kids need,
他们及时出现 代替了父母的角色
they stepped in and filled that role.
我的外婆做了两件非常重要的事
My grandma especially did two things that really matter.
第一 她创造了和平的家庭环境 让我专心做功课
One, she provided that peaceful home that allowed me to focus on homework
专心做孩子应该做的事情
and the things that kids should be focused on.
而且她是一位洞察力极强的女性
But she was also this incredibly perceptive woman,
尽管连中学都没有上过
despite not even having a middle school education.
她察觉到了社区对我产生的不利影响
She recognized the message that my community had for me,
就是不管我们怎样选择
that my choices didn’t matter,
我们面前都有重重阻碍
that the deck was stacked against me.
有一次她告诉我
She once told me,
“JD 不要像那些没出息的人一样 觉得整个世界都在跟他们作对
“JD, never be like those losers who think the deck is stacked against them.
你可以做成任何想做的事情”
You can do anything you want to.”
尽管她知道生活是不公平的
And yet she recognized that life wasn’t fair.
要打破这种平衡去告诉一个孩子
It’s hard to strike that balance,
生活的不公平是很难的
to tell a kid that life isn’t fair,
但即使这样 也要告诉孩子他们的选择是有意义的
but also recognize and enforce in them the reality that their choices matter.
但是外婆能打破这种平衡
But mamaw was able to strike that balance.
另一个帮到我的就是美国海军陆战队
The other thing that really helped was the United States Marine Corps.
我们认为海军陆战队是一个军事单位 它当然是
So we think of the Marine Corps as a military outfit, and of course it is,
但对我而言 美国海军陆战队是一次长达4年的
but for me, the US Marine Corps was a four-year crash course
性格教育课程
in character education.
它教会我如何铺床 怎么洗衣
It taught me how to make a bed, how to do laundry,
怎么早起 怎么规划自己的开销
how to wake up early, how to manage my finances.
这些都是社区没有教我的东西
These are things my community didn’t teach me.
我还记得第一次去买车
I remember when I went to go buy a car for the very first time,
一个经销商给了我非常非常“低”的贷款利息 21.9%
I was offered a dealer’s low, low interest rate of 21.9 percent,
我都准备签合同了
and I was ready to sign on the dotted line.
但我最后没有签
But I didn’t take that deal,
因为我把合同拿给我的长官看
because I went and took it to my officer
他告诉我 “别傻了
who told me, “Stop being an idiot,
去找本地的信贷联盟 拿一个更好的价”
go to the local credit union, and get a better deal.”
我照做了
And so that’s what I did.
如果没有海军陆战队
But without the Marine Corps,
我可能永远也没法了解这个知识
I would have never had access to that knowledge.
我可能还会遭遇财政危机
I would have had a financial calamity, frankly.
最后我还想说 我非常幸运
The last thing I want to say is that I had a lot of good fortune
能遇见很多很好的导师和人
in the mentors and people
他们在我生命中扮演了重要的角色
who have played an important role in my life.
在海军陆战队 在俄亥俄州 在耶鲁大学
From the Marines, from Ohio State, from Yale,
在其它地方
from other places,
大家都走近我
people have really stepped in
帮我填满社会资本的那条鸿沟
and ensured that they filled that social capital gap
这条鸿沟在我身上表现得很明显
that it was pretty obvious, apparently, that I had.
这是一种很大的幸运
That comes from good fortune,
但是很多孩子都没有这样的好运
but a lot of children aren’t going to have that good fortune,
这就为我们引出了非常重要的问题
and I think that raises really important questions for all of us
那就是该如何改变这一点
about how we’re going to change that.
我们要思考如何帮助低收入家庭的孩子
We need to ask questions about how we’re going to give low-income kids
让他们破碎的家庭重新充满爱
who come from a broken home access to a loving home.
我们要思考
We need to ask questions
如何教育低收入的父母
about how we’re going to teach low-income parents
同自己的孩子 同自己的爱人
how to better interact with their children,
更好地互动
with their partners.
我们要思考如何为贫穷的孩子
We need to ask questions about how we give social capital,
提供社会资本和引导
mentorship to low-income kids who don’t have it.
我们要思考如何教育工人阶级的孩子
We need to think about how we teach working class children
不仅仅是硬技能
about not just hard skills,
比如阅读 数学
like reading, mathematics,
还有软技能
but also soft skills,
比如 危机处理和理财
like conflict resolution and financial management.
现在 我并没有所有这些问题的答案
Now, I don’t have all of the answers.
我也不知该如何彻底解决这些问题
I don’t know all of the solutions to this problem,
但我明确知道的是:
but I do know this:
现在 在南俄亥俄州
in southern Ohio right now,
有孩子在焦急等待自己的父亲
there’s a kid who is anxiously awaiting their dad,
在想着 当他走进家门的时候
wondering whether, when he comes through the door,
是正常的 还是喝得东倒西歪的
he’ll walk calmly or stumble drunkly.
有的孩子
There’s a kid
看着自己的母亲往胳膊里扎针
whose mom sticks a needle in her arm
然后失去知觉
and passes out,
他不明白为什么妈妈不给自己做饭
and he doesn’t know why she doesn’t cook him dinner,
只好饿着肚子爬上床
and he goes to bed hungry that night.
有的孩子对未来不抱希望
There’s a kid who has no hope for the future
但又非常想过上更好的生活
but desperately wants to live a better life.
他们需要有人教他们怎么做
They just want somebody to show it to them.
我没有所有的答案
I don’t have all the answers,
但我知道 除非整个社会开始思考
but I know that unless our society starts asking better questions
为什么我如此幸运
about why I was so lucky
如何让更多的社区
and about how to get that luck to more of our communities
让更多的孩子得到这份幸运
and our country’s children,
否则我们将不断遇到非常严重的问题
we’re going to continue to have a very significant problem.
谢谢
Thank you.
[掌声]
[Applause]

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视频概述

J·D·万斯的家乡是位于南俄亥俄州“锈带”的一座贫穷小城,他在那里亲历了许多荼毒美国的社会问题:海洛因泛滥,学校衰败,家庭因为离婚和家暴而分崩离析。在这篇探索性的、能够激起工人阶级广大反响的演讲中,演讲者详述了美国梦的迷失,提出了社区领袖和政策制定者都应该好好思考的问题:如何才能帮助那些出生在被遗忘城镇的孩子,冲破绝望,过上更好的生活。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

B11101001

审核员

与光同尘

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEy-xTbcr2A

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