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朱克伯格的太太應被稱爲中國人嗎? Should Mrs Zuckerberg be labelled Chinese?

2015/9/11 — 14:27

Facebook 創辦人Zuckerberg的太太Priscilla Chan(左)
資料圖片來源:Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

Facebook 創辦人Zuckerberg的太太Priscilla Chan(左)
資料圖片來源:Mark Zuckerberg Facebook


在這短文裏,方禮倫以Priscilla Chan為例,提出種族身份雖沒科學或文化上的法律定義,卻仍然可以讓人在無視實際情況下,把「中國人」這身份強加予他人身上。中文譯文由 Sally 提供,英文原文在下。

In this short opinion piece, Evan takes the case of Priscilla Chan as an example of how a racial identity, that has neither scientific or cultural legitimacy, may be imposed on us by others regardless of whether we are by context or identification Chinese. The translation is provided by Sally. 



那標題寫著:誰是中國最大的慈善家?在我細讀内文前,那張附帶的照片,吸引住了我的眼光。在面帶微笑的李嘉誠和馬雲旁邊,是一張年輕的、漂亮的、看起來很不一樣的臉 — 那是 Priscilla Chan 的臉。

這篇文章聲稱,她除了是中國三大最慷概 [1] 的慈善家之一外,也是 Facebook 創辦人朱克伯格的太太。跟她丈夫一樣,她也是美國人。



於波士頓土生土長, Priscilla Chan 從未在美國以外居住過,遑論中國。她既無中文名字亦不擁有中國國籍,更從沒公開認定或講過希望自己是中國人。






德國人又會如何看待這事呢?他們能在朱克伯格的美國成長及特徵中找到共鳴嗎?他們會對他明顯的文化及語言差異感到疑惑嗎?甚至, 既然猶太才是他家族的文化、信仰、歷史根源,他不更應是個猶太人嗎?對於這種不恰當的身份標籤,他經已拒絕,更不用說他是個無神論者。

相信讀者必覺得這些標籤十分荒謬,如果筆者提出來恐怕也會受到亳不留情的批判。朱克伯格和 Priscilla Chan 兩人都是美國人,因為他們都認同這個身份。而這也正是重點之處。



Priscilla Chan 不僅是真正的美國人,這更代表她個人的身份認同。把她跟李嘉誠和馬雲放在一起共稱中國人,是冒犯了她最基本的人權,也用了帶種族歧視的錯誤理論。為甚麽是種族歧視?因為這把個人認同置在他人所認可的族群之下,但這種認可卻毫無科學或文化上的法律定義可言。

那張照片的吸引之處在哪?如果 Priscilla Chan 看起來像是華裔的話,那她更不像是在中國長大的人。她那自然而陽光的笑容,豐盈而合比例的身型,看得到的更多是她的成長軌跡。她或許是華人,但我第—眼和最後—眼看到的,卻還是個不折不扣地美國人。

注 [1] :在筆者來看,最慷概並非一定以金額量度而是那種助人的精神,所以他們三人是否三大最慷概的慈善家實在有待商榷。


The headline read: Who are the biggest Chinese philanthropists? What caught my attention, before even reading a line of the piece, was the accompanying photographs. Beside stock images of a smiling Li Ka Shing and Jack Ma Yun was the younger, prettier and decidedly different face of Priscilla Chan.

Apart from being, so the article claims, one of the three most generous Chinese philanthropists - a claim I would be cautious to make given generosity is to my mind not measured in absolute sums but in spirit - Priscilla Chan is the wife of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. She is also, like her husband, American.

I do not deny that Mrs Zuckerberg is a wealthy and generous woman, with an admirable desire to share a little of her fortune to make the lives of others in China and around the world a little better. But is it right to be labelling her a Chinese philanthropist?

Born and raised in Boston, she has never lived outside of the United States, let alone in China. She does not have a Chinese name nor hold Chinese citizenship; and has never publicly identified herself as Chinese, nor ever expressed a desire to do so.

And whilst I can not claim to know her, given the experience of many of my own "Asian American" cousins, who were also born and raised in Boston, are of a similar age and attended similar schools, I would consider it extremely unlikely that she could fairly be described as anything but culturally American. Meeting your future husband at a college fraternity party is hardly a "Chinese" thing to do.

So what exactly is her connection with China? Her parents, who came to the United States as refugees before she was born, are of Vietnamese Chinese descent. It may therefore be plausibly to describe her as Vietnamese as well as ethnically Chinese given her roots. 

It should also be considered how identifying with being both Vietnamese and Chinese are today very different from what they would have meant to her parents as children growing up in Asia. There is a political edge to the label, that today meshes a national and racial identity with a type of politics from which her family were forced to flee. Given this a degree of sensitivity in labelling her as Chinese would be expected.

However, the true absurdity of stressing ethnicity is highlighted when we apply the same criteria to her husband. 

What if I were to state that Mark Zuckerberg is the richest "German" alive, which would be accurate by such a ethnic criteria? How might readers respond? 

How might people who identify with being German respond? Would they be able to relate to his American upbringing and context? Might they feel a need to question his obviously different cultural and linguistic heritage? And why not refer to him as Jewish, given his family roots and that this is the faith, and to a degree the culture, to which he was born? That he has rejected both these identification and is openly atheist is to such an imposition an irrelevance.

I would however have confidence that most readers would consider such labelling as absurd and rightly direct any opprobrium towards the author. Mark Zuckerberg is American, as is Priscilla Chan, because they personally identify with being so. And that is the point.

Our most fundamental right is to define our own identity, whether it be our gender, the culture and language we chose to adopt, or with whom or what we relate. Not only is it our individual and personal prerogative to choose with which nation, culture or people we identify, but it is also a personal decision as to how we relate to them if at all.

To impose an identity on others is a very personal form of oppression that undermine a most fundamental freedom. It is not an ideological freedom, but one core to our dignity. Much as when the religious declare their children as members of a faith, their is a presumption that there is an other for whom we owe our lives; that we belong to, and owe everything to, this other that defines us. This is absolute slavery.

Priscilla Chan is not only an American by context, but most importantly by her own identification. In choosing to cast her as "Chinese" alongside Li Ka Shing and Jack Ma Yun we violate a most fundamental right, and play to a false rational that underpins racism. For the racist, our individual and personal identification is subordinate to what they perceive as being our race - a perception as the concept of race has neither scientific nor cultural legitimacy.

So what was it about the photograph that caught my eye? If it is true that Priscilla Chan does looks ethnic Chinese, it must also be said that she does not look like someone who grew up in China. From that natural, exuberant smile, smooth yet fleshy beauty and well proportioned build, she looked to me a product of her upbringing. Chinese perhaps, but first and foremost, to me she looks American.