Why does this feel opportunistic, like it’s just to rattle people? Why does this feel like it’s not really for the benefit of others? What the?
Amy Chua is out with a new book again—this time co-written with her Jewish American husband and also Yale Law Professor Jed Rubenfeld. It’s called The Triple Package. According to this Huff Po article, these 3 cultural characteristics—superiority complex, insecurity, impulse control—lead to success for Jews, Indians, Chinese, Iranians, Lebanese, Nigerians, Cuban exiles, and Mormons.
[Hmm…could it be also that the 1965 Immigration Act encouraged people to come in with special skills, and they tended to be more highly educated sorts who are going to raise their kids accordingly? They are lawyers—surely, this is in the book. (It just came out—I haven’t read it.)]
Whatever. I admit I also didn’t read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother but I dealt with a lot of the backlash. The misreads, the outrage—and yes, some in the Asian American community taking it literally as a parenting handbook. Kudos to Helen Lee for trying to redirect Asian American (and non-Asian American) parenting into something more Christ-like, Christian, in Missional Mom—-but still, we have a long way to go. Especially in the Asian American community.
When I was a junior high student—my mom very much wanted me to be more involved at church. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a Christian—it didn’t matter that she or my dad weren’t Christians. (It didn’t matter later that most of the people in that church didn’t call themselves Christian.) But she wanted me to be like well, Emily and John and Laura. In her mind, they were a lot more confident because they practiced reading Scripture from the front at service, and they would sing and perform regularly at service. It didn’t matter that come sophomore or junior year of high school, all these kids disappeared from church to study—that was seen as the right thing to do.
I’m well beyond those days now, but things don’t seem too different. Looking at parents today—things actually seem….worse. It’s scary, to raise your kids differently especially since getting into the Ivy’s seems much more competitive, much more resume-intensive. I am sympathetic here.
And what is funny to me is that while the not-Christian Chua is obviously sympathetic, she knew she was a bit too much. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was written as farce, as a way to make fun of herself. Her techniques did not work on her youngest daughter. Look here, it’s right on the cover of her book:
“This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones.
But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year old.”
But for some reason—this satirical element was not the main message in the media and mainstream—it was the outrage over her parenting style. And now—with this latest book—it seems that she too has bought into what the media and mainstream think of her.
Now, she’s feeding it.