SAN FRANCISCO — As Election Day approached, a flurry of messages flashed across the phones of San Francisco’s Chinese American community. “Remember to vote,” said one message in Chinese from a campaign organizer, Selena Chu. “And throw out the commissioners who are discriminating against us and disrespecting our community.”
旧金山——随着选举日临近,旧金山华裔社区各处的手机上都弹出了一连串信息。“记得要投票,”来自活动组织者朱伟的一条中文信息这样写道。“将那些歧视我们、不尊重我们社区的委员都赶走。”
The lopsided victory in a recall election on Tuesday that ousted three members of the San Francisco school board shook the city’s liberal establishment and was a resounding alarm of parental anger over the way the public school system handled the coronavirus pandemic.
周二,通过一场一边倒的罢免选举,旧金山学区教育委员会的三名成员被驱逐,震动了该市的自由主义建制派,以轰动的方式表达了家长们对公立学校系统应对新冠疫情方式的愤怒。
Parents of varying ethnicities and income levels who had coalesced last year while San Francisco schools remained closed — they stayed shut for much longer than those in other large cities — organized themselves through Facebook groups and vowed to push out Board of Education members for what they saw as incompetence. They kept their promise: The three commissioners were removed by as much as 79 percent of voters, an unequivocal rejection in a city renowned for fractious politics.
在去年旧金山学校停课——该市学校停课时间比其他大城市的学校要长得多——之时联合起来的家长族裔不同,收入水平也各异。他们通过Facebook群组进行动员组织,誓要将他们认定无能的教育委员会成员驱逐。他们兑现了自己的承诺:有多达79%的选民投票将三名委员免职,在这座以政治上各行其是著称的城市,这是再明确不过的否决。
For many Asian Americans in the city, especially the large Chinese American community, the results were an affirmation of the group’s voting power, coming with a high degree of organizing, turnout and intensity not seen in many years. In an election where every registered voter received a ballot, overall turnout was relatively low at 26 percent; turnout among the 30,000 people who requested Chinese-language ballots was significantly higher at 37 percent.
对旧金山的许多亚裔——特别是庞大的华裔群体——而言,这样的选举结果是对该群体投票权的肯定,他们的组织性、投票率和热情高涨的程度是多年未见的。在这场每位登记选民都能得到一张选票的选举中,26%的总体投票率相对较低;而在要求提供中文选票的3万人中,投票率明显更高,达到37%。
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In an overwhelmingly liberal city, Asian American voters have sided with Democrats for decades. But in recent years, a growing number of Chinese residents, many of them born in mainland China, have become a moderating political force. Most Chinese residents in the city are registered as independents and, as Tuesday’s election appeared to show, they are not afraid to buck some of the more liberal elements of the Democratic Party. It is a pattern that has emerged in other cities, like New York, that are largely Democratic with significant Asian American populations.
在这座自由派绝对占优的城市,亚裔选民几十年来都站在民主党一边。但近几年来,越来越多的华裔居民——其中许多出生在中国大陆——已成为一股温和派力量。旧金山大多数华裔居民都登记为独立人士,正如周二的选举结果表明的那样,他们并不害怕与民主党内一些更具自由派倾向的成员抗衡。这种情况在纽约等其他城市也出现过,这些城市都是整体倾向民主党,同时亚裔人口众多。
“They are absolutely up for grabs,” David Lee, a political science lecturer at San Francisco State University, said of Asian American voters in the city.
“他们绝对是有待争取的群体,”旧金山州立大学政治学讲师李志威在谈到该市的亚裔美国选民时说。
In Tuesday’s election, two issues in particular motivated Chinese American voters. The Board of Education had voted to put in place a lottery admission system at the highly selective Lowell High School, replacing an admission process that primarily selected students with the highest grades and test scores. Lowell for decades had represented what one community member described as the “gateway to the American dream.” The introduction of the lottery system has reduced the number of Asian and white ninth graders at Lowell by around one-quarter and increased Black and Latino ninth graders by more than 40 percent.
在周二的选举中,有两个问题尤其激励着华裔美国选民。教育委员会投票决定,在原本录取时极为挑剔的洛厄尔高中实行抽签录取制度,取代以前主要选择成绩和考试分数最高的学生的录取程序。几十年来,洛厄尔一直代表着一名社区成员所称的“通往美国梦的大门”。抽签制度的引入使洛厄尔中学九年级的亚裔和白人学生人数减少了约四分之一,而使黑人和拉丁裔学生人数增加了40%以上。
Chinese voters were also upset by tweets by Alison Collins, one of the recalled school board members, that were unearthed during the campaign. Ms. Collins said Asian Americans used “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” She went on to compare Asian Americans to slaves who had the advantage of working inside a slave owner’s home instead of doing more grueling labor in the fields, using asterisks to mask an anti-Black racial slur. The tweets reinforced a sentiment among many Chinese voters of being taken for granted, underrepresented and insulted, people involved in the recall campaign said.
被罢免的学校董事会成员之一艾莉森·柯林斯在竞选期间发布的推文也让华裔选民不满。柯林斯说,亚裔美国人用“白人至上主义的思维来搞同化和‘出人头地’”。她还把亚裔美国人比作在奴隶主的家里工作的奴隶,不在地里干累人活计,于是在奴隶中相对占优,文字中使用了星号来隐去反黑人的种族歧视字眼。参与罢免活动的人士说,这些推文强化了许多华裔选民的情绪,即他们被理所当然地归入某类,没有得到足够代表,并且受到侮辱。
Asian American voters also said they were motivated by issues beyond the actions of the board: The number of high-profile attacks against Asian Americans, many of them older, has traumatized the community. And many Chinese-owned businesses were suffering the effects of pandemic closures, especially in Chinatown.
亚裔美国选民还表示,他们的动机不止于董事会的行动:针对亚裔美国人(其中很多是老年人)的众多轰动性袭击事件给这个社区造成了创伤。许多华裔拥有的企业受到疫情封锁的影响,尤其是在华埠。
“We are losing faith in government,” said Bayard Fong, president of the Chinese American Democratic Club.
“我们对政府失去信心了,”华裔民主党协进会主席谭炳荣说。
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Asian Americans make up about 36 percent of San Francisco’s population, one of the largest such communities in a major city, but they are an incredibly diverse group that includes Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese and Thais and features different economic, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds. Chinese Americans are by far the largest Asian group, making up 23 percent of San Francisco’s population. Forty percent of the population is white, 15 percent Latino and 6 percent Black.
亚裔美国人约占旧金山人口的36%,是大城市中最大的亚裔美国群体之一,但这个群体有着不可思议的多样性,包括菲律宾人、印度人、越南人和泰国人,有着不同的经济、语言和种族背景。华裔美国人是迄今为止最大的亚裔群体,占旧金山人口的23%。该市人口中40%是白人,15%是拉丁裔,6%是黑人。
The ouster of the three board members will elevate the only Chinese American member of the seven-person board to the position of president. And it puts Mayor London Breed in the delicate position of appointing three replacement members who will be acceptable to the parents now closely watching the process. Recall campaigners say they hope more Asian Americans will be appointed to the board.
这三名董事会成员被免职,将使七人董事会中唯一的华裔美国人升为主席。这让伦敦·布里德市长处于一个微妙的位置,他需要任命三名新成员,并且令他们被正在密切关注这一过程的家长们所接受。罢免活动人士表示,他们希望更多亚裔美国人被任命为董事会成员。
Autumn Looijen, who with her partner, Siva Raj, organized signature gathering and initiated the recall campaign, described the Chinese American community as crucial to the recall’s success.
奥坦姆·卢安和她的合作伙伴西瓦·拉杰组织了签名活动,并发起了罢免运动。她说,华裔美国人社区对罢免运动的成功至关重要。
“They were the backbone of our volunteer efforts,” Ms. Looijen said. “They have been really powering this campaign from the beginning.”
“他们是我们志愿工作的支柱,”卢安说。“他们从一开始就为这场运动提供了真正的动力。”
During the campaign, organizers used WeChat, the Chinese-language messaging app, to offer everything from detailed instructions on how to fill out a ballot to organizing the deployment of volunteers in Chinatown, where lion dances and drumming exhorted residents to vote.
在活动期间,组织者利用微信这一中文聊天应用提供了各种服务,从如何填写选票的详细说明,到组织在华埠部署志愿者的各种服务。他们在华埠发起舞狮和击鼓活动,鼓励居民投票。
“We shall be silent no more,” said a flier in English and Chinese handed out by the Chinese American Democratic Club.
“我们不再沉默,”华裔民主党协进会发出的一份中英文传单上写道。
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Parents who campaigned for the recall described an awakening in the Chinese American community by people who had been largely apolitical until now.
参加罢免活动的家长们描述了美国华人社区的觉醒,这些人在此之前基本上是不关心政治的。
Ms. Chu, the woman who sent the WeChat message urging people to vote, said she grew up with parents who advised her to remain quiet if she felt she was being treated unfairly. Many first-generation immigrants still feel that way, she said.
发微信消息敦促人们投票的朱伟说,在她的成长过程中,父母告诉她,如果觉得自己受到不公平对待,要保持沉默。她说,许多第一代移民仍然这样想。
Now a mother of two children in the San Francisco public school system, Ms. Chu felt compelled, for the first time, to become actively involved in an election. Her hands hurt, she said, from texting so much on WeChat during the campaign.
现在,作为在旧金山公立学校就读的两个孩子的母亲,朱伟第一次感到有必要积极参与一场选举。她说,由于活动期间用微信发了很多消息,她的手很疼。
She was motivated by a sense of being punished and pilloried for working hard and striving.
她的动力来自一种努力工作却遭到惩罚和嘲笑的感觉。
“This year a lot of parents are telling me, ‘We are done with being scapegoats,’” Ms. Chu said.
“今年,很多家长对我说,‘我们不能再当替罪羊了,’”朱伟说。
“We are still being looked at as foreigners,” she said. “We are Americans. You have to give us respect.”
“我们仍然被当成外国人,”她说。“我们是美国人。你们必须尊重我们。”
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She called the recall election a milestone for the Asian American community.
她称这次罢免选举是亚裔美国人社区的里程碑。
“They finally understand the power of their vote,” she said.
“他们终于明白了投票的力量,”她说。
Crucial to the organizing efforts was Ann Hsu, a Beijing-born entrepreneur with decades of experience in starting up and managing companies in both China and the United States.
对组织工作至关重要的是徐安,她出生于北京,拥有数十年在中美两国创办和管理公司的经验。
家长们正在关注旧金山市长伦敦·布里德是否会任命亚裔美国人加入学校委员会。
家长们正在关注旧金山市长伦敦·布里德是否会任命亚裔美国人加入学校委员会。 Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Ms. Hsu used her management experience to organize volunteers and set campaign strategies. She ignored the English-language media and instead focused tightly on Chinese-language newspapers, YouTube channels and advertising. She and her volunteers distributed thousands of yellow shopping bags emblazoned with recall messages and gave them out to older Chinese residents. She set up a task force that registered 560 residents, almost all of them Asian Americans, to vote.
徐安利用自己的管理经验组织志愿者,制定活动策略。她避开英文媒体,专注于中文报纸、YouTube频道和广告。她和志愿者们分发了数以千计印有罢免信息的黄色购物袋,分发给华裔老年居民。她成立了一个特别工作组,为560名居民登记投票,其中大部分是亚裔美国人。
Using WeChat to organize her operations had the added advantage of breaking a language barrier: She speaks Mandarin while other residents are more comfortable in Cantonese. The written messages could be understood by all.
使用微信来组织活动还有一个额外的好处,那就是打破了语言障碍:她会说普通话,其他居民更习惯说粤语。但所有人都能理解文字信息。
Ms. Hsu’s voice fills with emotion when she discusses the issue of Lowell, which she said was the primary motivation for jumping into politics.
谈及洛厄尔的问题时,徐安的声音里充满了感情,她说这是她投身政治的主要动机。
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“When you came for Lowell, you came for the Asians,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. “We are going to stand up and say no more, no!”
“当你针对洛厄尔的时候,你是来针对亚裔的,”她在周三接受采访时说。“我们要站出来说:不行,不!”
The future admissions process at Lowell remains unclear — the lottery system will remain in place for students entering in the fall, but the board has not made a decision for admissions beyond next year.
洛厄尔高中未来的招生程序目前还不确定——抽签制度将继续适用于秋季入学的学生,但董事会还没有对明年以后的招生问题做出决定。
Ms. Hsu says Lowell is not directly personal for her. Her two teenage boys are at another school in the San Francisco public school district.
徐女士说,洛厄尔对她来说并不直接关系到个人利益。她的两个十几岁的儿子就读于旧金山公立学区的另一所学校。
But she saw in the board’s decisions a deep sense that the aspirations of Asian American residents were being ignored.
但她从委员会的决定中看到了一种深刻的感觉,那就是亚裔美国居民的愿望被忽视了。
The debate over admission to elite public high schools has galvanized Asian parents in other cities, notably New York. In both San Francisco and New York, the issue cleaves liberal voters who are torn between a desire to maintain a system that has traditionally benefited high-achieving students from poorer, often immigrant, backgrounds but at the same time left behind Black and Latino students.
关于精英公立高中入学问题的争论也刺激了其他城市的亚裔家长,尤其是在纽约。在旧金山和纽约,这个问题在自由派选民中造成了分裂。他们希望维持一个传统上有利于来自贫困、通常是移民背景的优秀学生的制度,但同时这种制度会把黑人和拉美裔学生抛在后面,这令他们感到左右为难。
In New York, where Black and Latino students are disproportionately underrepresented in the elite public high schools, the issue of school segregation rose to the fore during New York’s mayoral election last year. Left-leaning candidates called for a fundamental overhaul of the admissions standards while centrist candidates called for its retention. Among those who promised to keep the test was Eric Adams, the current mayor.
在纽约,精英公立高中里黑人和拉丁裔学生的比例过低,学校种族隔离问题在去年的纽约市长选举中引起了人们的关注。左翼候选人要求对招生标准进行根本性改革,而中间派候选人则要求保留招生标准。现任市长埃里克·亚当斯是承诺保留考试的人之一。
Ms. Collins, the board member who was criticized for her tweets, said during the campaign that she had “desegregated” Lowell.
因推文而受到批评的委员会成员柯林斯在竞选期间表示,她“废除”了洛厄尔的种族隔离制度。
In the wake of the lopsided recall, political analysts are weighing whether the energy and fervor of the campaign will carry over into other elections both in the city and nationally.
在这次一边倒的罢免之后,政治分析人士正在权衡,这次竞选活动的活力和热情是否会延续到该市和全国各地的其他选举中。
Mike Chen, a board member of the Edwin M. Lee Asian Pacific Democratic Club, said the results were remarkable — “nobody in the city can agree 80 percent on anything.” But he said he would “heavily caution” making predictions about other campaigns based off a single election with relatively low turnout. San Francisco had a very particular set of issues that pushed parents over the edge, he said.
李孟贤亚太裔民主俱乐部的董事会成员迈克·陈(音)说,这个结果很了不起——“在这个城市,没有人能在任何事情上达成80%的一致。”但他表示,他将“非常谨慎”地根据一场投票率相对较低的单一选举来预测其他竞选的结果。他说,旧金山有一系列非常特殊的问题,把家长们逼到了边缘。
“People have been trying to make extrapolations: What does this mean for school board elections in Ohio or Virginia?” he said.
“人们一直试图做出推断:这对俄亥俄州或弗吉尼亚州的学校委员会选举意味着什么?”他说。
“We had this very particular instance,” he continued. “We had very visible examples of incompetence, bad governance and malfeasance. Most people could objectively observe the decisions that were happening last year and think, ‘This is really messed up.’”
“我们遇到了这个特别的例子,”他继续说。“我们有非常明显的无能、治理不善和渎职的例子。大多数人可以客观地观察去年发生的决策,然后想,‘这可太差劲了。’”