25Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork (漸漸消失、漸漸被遺忘). We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank (瘋子怪人) or a demagogue (['dɛməgɔg] 煽動家), just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro【註1】, in the aftermath (事件結束後的時期) of her recent statements, as harboring (心懷...、懷有) some deep-seated racial bias.

26But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

27The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through (成功處理、解決) -- a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

28Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite (詳述) here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities (不相等,尤其指地位不公平造成的不同) that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal (殘忍的) legacy of slavery and Jim Crow【註2】.

29Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board (委員會) of Education【註3】, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive (普遍的) achievement gap between today's black and white students.

30Legalized discrimination -- where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA (Federal Housing Association 聯邦住屋協會) mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments -- meant that black families could not amass (積聚) any meaningful wealth to bequeath (遺贈) to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty (密集的貧窮區域) that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

31A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families -- a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods -- parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat (警察的轄區), regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement (強制執行建築法規) -- all helped create a cycle of violence, blight (枯萎荒蕪) and neglect that continue to haunt us.

32This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age (長大成人) in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds (克服不可能的困境); how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

33But for all those who scratched and clawed their way (努力扒出一條路,意指奮力提升社會地位) to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it -- those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations -- those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing (衰弱消沉) in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited (利用) by politicians, to gin (誘捕) up votes along racial lines, or to make up for (補償) a politician's own failings (缺失、弱點).

34And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit (教堂的講壇) and in the pews (教堂的長椅). The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism (真理) that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing (誠實正面地面對) our own complicity (共犯結構) in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging (建立...關係) the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm (深淵) of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

【註1】Geraldine Ferarro 民主黨女性眾議員,曾在1984年做為副總統候選人,與 Walter Mondale 搭檔參選總統。後敗於雷根。參與希拉蕊的競選團隊,並於2008年3月7日在加州每日微風報上發表評論:「如果歐巴馬是白人,他不會在這個位置;如果他是個女人,他也不會在這個位置。」這段話引起很大的爭議,及歐巴馬陣營的抗議。在3月12日,她退出競選團隊,表示不希望給希拉蕊帶來進一步傷害,但自始至終沒有收回此言論。(轉錄自徐聖俠先生的譯文

【註2】Jim Crow 各種種族隔離法律的總稱。在馬丁路德領導的公民權運動(Civil Rights Movement)之前,美國曾有許多歧視黑人的法律:黑白人必須讀不同學校、用不同廁所、喝不同飲水機、使用不同的公車門、公車上亦劃分黑白座位區。對這些令人生氣的法規有興趣的人,可以參考維基百科。至於為什麼叫做 Jim Crow,好像沒有確定的說法。

【註3】Brown vs. Board of Education 美國最高法院於1954年5月17日發下的判例,推翻之前黑白各自設立學校的各州法案。視為種族平等進程的一大突破。(轉錄自徐聖俠先生的譯文

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

歐巴馬仍維持他一貫的坦白:『有些人以為我以上所說的這些都只是想要將那不可原諒的語言合理化、或者為它找藉口。我可以向你保證絕非如此。我知道政治上的安全作法應該是讓這個事件過去,然後希望它漸漸消失。我們可以將 Reverend Wright 當作怪人或煽動者來打發掉,或者說他懷有嚴重的種族偏見。但我相信,種族問題是這國家目前還沒本錢忽略的議題。否則,我們將會犯下和 Reverend Wright 一樣的錯 -- 將刻板印象簡化、放大負面觀點,直到事實被扭曲。』


於是,他開始解釋黑人在美國的處境 -- 教育機會不平等造成黑白之間的成就差距、就業機會不平等造成黑白之間的貧富差距、黑人家庭的經濟不佳與他們造成的社會問題形成惡性循環。

ㄟㄟㄟ,黑人不能當警察就算了(原來好萊塢電影都在裝肖維),不能當消防員未免也太誇張了吧?!上課時我特別提出來問 Peggy,她聳聳肩,無奈地回答:『很不幸這是真的。大概因為消防員的待遇非常好吧,他們就不想讓黑人得到這麼好的工作機會,所以黑人很難應徵上消防員的工作。』不知道美國的黑人消防員比例是多少.....

長久以來,黑人的處境一向艱難,這些飽受挫敗/打壓/歧視的社會經驗在他們心中已留下難以磨滅的傷痕。那些熬不過來的,就流落街頭或者呆在監獄任由意志消沉;就算是熬過困境成功站穩腳步的,他們眼裡的世界仍然滿是種族歧視造成的自卑。所以,『對於 Reverend Wright 那一代的人們來說,羞辱、懷疑與恐懼的記憶從未離開。那些年來的憤怒與苦澀也依然留存在。那些憤怒也許不會在公開場合中、在白人朋友或同事面前表示出來;但你仍然會在理髮店或餐桌旁聽到那些憤怒的耳語。有時候,那些憤怒受到政治人物的利用,沿著種族邊線來獲取選票、或是用來掩蓋政治人物自己的不足。』





他再一次勇敢地誠實說出『共犯』這個字眼 -- 台灣的政治人物不斷消費五十年前的悲情,塑造白色恐怖受害者的形象,但從來沒有誰敢指著他們的鼻子說出『共犯』兩字。一邊是難以擺脫的受害者心態,一邊是聲淚俱下/聲嘶力竭的聲援/平反/討公道,所以受害者永遠活在過去的陰影中,社會對他們永遠有說不完的抱歉。




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