Tiger Mom: black Americans are screwed, but she’s wrong about by whom

I’ve been fortunate to be married for 24 years to an extraordinary Jamaican woman named Angela. She’s done a phenomenal job raising our two daughters, Aubrey and Austen, and over the past two years has been exceptional in counseling and mentoring our Chinese exchange student, Wangying Lin.

So perhaps it’s understandable I would take exception to the assertion of self-proclaimed “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua that Chinese mothers are best.

In her latest book, The Triple Package, Chua and her husband, co-author Jed Rubenfeld, gather some specious stats and anecdotal evidence to argue that some groups are just superior to others and everyone else is contributing to the downfall of America, according to a story in the New York Post.

Chua herself is an American, raised in the Midwest, but she used her heritage and all the worst stereotypes of Chinese women — cold, rigid Dragon Ladies, hostile towards their own children — to criticize the Western way of parenting, which she also said would be the downfall of America.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Chua and the Jewish Rubenfeld belong to two of the eight groups they deem exceptional. In no seeming order of importance, they are: Jewish, Indian, Chinese, Iranian, Lebanese-Americans, Nigerians, Cuban exiles, and Mormons. In the authors’ estimation, these “cultural” groups all possess three key qualities they’ve identified as guarantors of wealth and power: superiority, insecurity and impulse control.

Per the New York Post, as for why black Americans don’t make the cut, the authors believe the Civil Rights Movement took away any hope for a superiority narrative, and so the black community is screwed. Superiority is the one narrative that America has relentlessly denied or ground out of its black population.

They also point out that paradoxically, in modern America, a group has an edge if it doesn’t buy into — or hasn’t yet bought into — mainstream, post-1960s, liberal American principles.

And that to me is the key point, because Chua and Rubenfeld fail to recognize the impact governing policies – emanating from that same post-1960’s liberal groupthink — have had on these groups.

There was once a thriving and successful black community that produced leaders in all aspects of life, regardless of the horrific inequalities under which they lived. However, over the past 50 years, starting with the Great Society efforts of President Johnson, something happened, and families have been decimated. Thanks to the rise of teachers unions and their influence on policy, inner city schools have been devastated, education has been denigrated, and opportunity wiped out.

People of all colors and creeds have come to America with little, but achieved much because of an American culture that promoted rugged individualism, hard work, and discipline. Now we have a government that tells those at the bottom rung it’s ok to work less — if at all — and get a subsidy check.

I agree with Chua that the “superiority” narrative has been denied or grounded out of the black community — except in the areas of sports and entertainment. But it is also the objective of liberal progressive policies to grind down “impulse control” and replace drive, determination, and perseverance with a sense of “what can I get now?” As a result, too many in the black community in particular settle for a pittance instead of pursuing a goal-oriented vision of working hard over the years to earn something on their own.

Chua is correct on some points, but she fails to identify that what truly ails America are the progressive socialist policies and their effects. I would put my wife Angela up against Ms. Chua any day. And I certainly would argue with her on the basis of my own sense of exceptionalism, because I live in an exceptional country – and that’s what those ol’ traditional southern parents, Buck and Snooks, instilled in me. What do you think?

54 COMMENTS

  1. Narrowing down child care by race alone is silly. I’m a father, white and worship my little boy. I have friends that are different nationalities and they share my love of my child. I’ve never understood how anyone can classify these types of things considering no one ever polled me or anyone I know. It’s a generality and those usually only create drama.

  2. A woman writes a book about moms and marriage and hasn’t even taken her husband’s last name? I’m sorry, but her point is moot.

      • Nice try Amber. Where does this woman live that wrote this book? And what culture is she trying to get her point across to? Oh, that’s right, she lives here and is talking to us.

  3. Well first she’s really arguing “conditioning” and you have to agree with her definition of what constitutes a successful life – that’s subjective.

    Personalities that are wrapped up in issues (fixated) on traits like perfection, superiority etc…are compensating for something. They see everything as a competition they have to win. Maybe most of what she spouts in public is for attention to promote herself. I would hope her children are getting more out of their relationship with their mother than a drill sargent.

  4. When a people allow themselves to be herded like sheep under the pretense of being taken care of, they get led to the slaughter by their shepards.

  5. I actually see where you are coming from. I had a very
    awesome family living with me a while back. The oldest child was a male. He
    kept saying that he wanted to be a pro football player. “Great,” I
    would say, “What if that falls through? What will you do then?” The
    first time I said that to him he looked at me dumb founded. I was tutoring him
    in math and he was really not trying. He understood it but did not care. I took
    him on campus with me (I am currently a full time math major) and had the
    opportunity to introduce him to one of my favorite professors. Dr. Professor
    (don’t want to use his name w/o permission) has doctorate in business finance,
    two or three masters degrees ranging from finance to business, and had retired
    as an officer of the US Army after originally being an enlisted man. We left
    campus that day and the young man’s attitude had changed. He would still like
    to be a football player, but in the process he is still going to get a good
    education. He is now making all A’s in school and was even on the honor roll
    last semester! I am so proud of him. It took seeing an intelligent successful
    black man to change his life. His dad and mom are great people, but he was
    settling for mediocre, and I didn’t want that for him. He is very intelligent.
    I pray that there will be others to influence young black students as my wonderful
    professor has influenced this young man’s life!

    • thank you for relating that experience. Yes, mentors are needed for all those who are coming up. Many times our current society tells us what to cough up as the answer, but do not require that we think of how to get that answer. I believe it was Thomas Sowell who related in his book ‘ basic economics’ that he was posed with a problem by one of his economics professors ealy in his studies. Being the good little socialist minded student he was, he quickly came up with an answer and put it forth. The professor then asked ‘and then what?’ It threw him for a loop. no one had ever asked him that before, to look at the consequences of his decision. He came up with a response and the professor again asked “and then what?”. Sowell states that after about six iterations of this the professor, through forcing him to rationally think about the consequences of his choices, made him realize that his original position was untenable, and thus set him upon a new way of thinking.
      Many today are after the ‘quick fix’ and seldom take the time to find out the root cause for the problem they are addressing. We mask the symptom but we do not cure the disease

  6. You talk show hosts always forget the number one reason for the break down of the American family…the no fault divorce laws passed in the early 70’s in states across the country. They were anathema to women and children and were passed by largely white male dominated state legislators for ease and convenience. There were very few women or blacks in state legislatures back then. Can’t blame it on the feminazi’s ….it was white men voting themselves off the hook for supporting their families. PERIOD. They sowed the wind for ease and convenience,,,,forty years later we are reaping the whirlwind!

    • Ah yes, the old whipping boy of the ‘white male’. Another easy ‘quick fix’ answer in lieu of addressing the actual problem. A big part of the problem is that we have this glorified vision of marriage in the late teens, early 20s, long before present day individuals are mature enough to truly understand the commitment and covenant that is marriage. Divorce, and single parenthood, does play into it in that there used to be an example in the home of what a marriage is or should be. With that basis, the age could be lower as the expectations are set in the home at an early age. However that example can sometimes be negative, leading to a perpetuation of bad marriages. I wish I could say that the church was the answer, however, it depends on the church.. In hindsight, I wish that I had not married until I was in my late 20’s, early 30s. I was more mature then and would have been more likely to have chosen a woman more in tune with my direction in life than what I did first time around. ( and as we can see, my parents having stayed married was no help).
      What most marriages are today are really civil unions, IMHO, than covenants before God. ( one of the reasons I argue that the state should be out of the marriage business as all they care is that the license is signed and witnessed) and that difference is partly why many fail. There are failures in those which were church ‘marriages’ certainly, however, having experienced one which is truly a covenant before God, I would venture to say that that concept would be foreign to many of those.

      Hence, you may blame all of us evil ‘white mailes’, but you do yourself and those who you profess to care for a dis-service in that the root cause goes unaddressed

  7. well Mr West i believe that RACE has no outcome on anything i believe it is the inner spirit. we are all put down at sometime in our life because of something and it is up to ourselves to recover. now with this said being a mother and i happen to be of Irish decent and my children are of Italian decent one northern and one Sicilian, i had to fight for equal treatment in school for my children. i had to struggle to be able to afford putting them in extra activities and i had to bond and do this in keeping a marriage together. some of the things that others go through. i grew up in the ghetto of Las angels and i’m was raised by a single mother i have been drive by shot at went to house parties and sooo on. My oldest graduated from college at 19. my daughter will do the same BUT NOT WITH MANY STRUGGLES NO HAND ME OUTS. JUST HARD WORK. what i am trying to say if i can. it is the morals of the mother the integrity of her person the commitment of her her soul and the love OF GOD that make a mother of ANY RACE the best. my children have been thought morals they have been thought the bible and they have been thought that NOTHING is WORTH having if YOU have NOT earned it. my children do not like hand me outs they do stat their opinion because they had to fight for it. they are not geniuses however they are very intelligent. and a successful mother is one who can see that your children are great moral successful GODLY members of society. SO NO CHINESE ARE NOT THE BEST IN THE WORLD only maybe from the authors frame of reference. and to me that reference is pretty narrow minded. THANK YOU for sharing your story Mr. West
    .

    • As you cite, Sabrena, means have little to do with overall success of the individual. many who went through the depression realize this. Eddie Rickenbacker comes to mind. If you are not familiar with him, I recommend getting his autobiography. He was a WWI ace who taught himself to fly. Prior to that, he had been a winning race car driver. He had been forced to leave school in the 7th grade after his father was killed in an accident, and went to work to help support the family. He was interested in cars and worked his way into being a mechanic for a small auto manufacturer by coming in one morning and cleaning up the shop without being asked to, that is he showed he was willing to work. He went on to start Eastern Airlines (now defunct), and was tasked with increasing the efficiency at US bases during WWII. All without a high school education ( he did study to work as an engineer, however to my knowledge did not get a degree)
      He was not the exception. I have been privileged to know many from that generation, my father included, who have done well. My father, who died a few years back at 97, only went through the 6th grade, however taught himself welding and worked for 40 years as a welder, as well as farming. After retiring, he started a business converting scrap forklift masts for use on farm tractors and ran that very successfully until he was no longer able.

      I salute you for having raised children under trying circumstances and having them succeed.(I was a single custodial parent for many years, so I can relate to some of the struggles) I have come across too many younger than I who, whether it be because of low income, race, or parentage, have a chip on their shoulder which disadvantages them from the start, where as any of the aforementioned would not have

  8. The permissive attitude for that which is immoral is what has decimated a significant segment of the black community (promiscuity, addiction, and violence, to name a few) as well as about 50% of the American population to those and other sins. America was not founded on tolerance. It was founded on an intolerance for that which was immoral and evil — taxes without representation and a monarchy that demanded worship of a mortal king.

  9. Don’t listen to this woman. She became famous bec she wrote a book about easing successful children . Her daughter is super smart and was accepted at two Ivy League schools. Nothing she saids is proven. Her daughter is successful bec mom control’s everything from school classes, her friends to what she wears. That’s great but the girl is in HS , not on her own . Can you image what her daughter is going to do once she’s out of the house and on her own ?????
    So, she thinks Cuban Exiles are successful people . Cool I’ll make sure to tell Tony and Gina Montana

  10. I think you are a great example of the right way to do it Col. And the family you have produced proves it. And you are firing on all cylinders on your assessment.

  11. There is no doubt that your parents did an exceptional job; and I think they have been the guiding principle in how you and Angela are raising yours. Keep setting the facts out for those who don’t “get it”. However, I do hope that we, “the choir” are not the only ones reading your writings. We already know this. But the ones who need to read and understand may not be doing so. They are the ones you have to figure out how to get this message to.

  12. Col West and other high profile Black American Conservatives are leading
    the charge on the DEM Plantations, intending to throw open the gates, as
    they challenge the Overseers, Jackson and Sharpton!

    SET these Americans FREE!

    ‪#‎BeClingers‬ ——————————> ‪#‎AmericaRISING‬

  13. The problem with the “Tiger Mom” (besides that she has written two third rate books that uses anecdotes and polemics to make up for any actual scientific evidence) Is that there is no place for God in her world. No place for ethics. Life is only about being cut throat to get ahead and getting your kids into an Ivy league school.
    But God had a big place to play in all the Groups she discusses.
    The real triple package why certain INDIVIDUALS get ahead:
    1. God/Moral focused values.
    2. Discipline.
    3. Reverence for education.

    being cut throat just get your throat cut. As happened to Miss Chua’s Aunt. (by her chauffeur)

  14. Col. West, while I’m deeply appreciative of your service to this country, there’s still more you can do. PLEASE run for President! The United States of America needs your kind of wisdom and leadership at the helm.

  15. It should be obvious to the most casual observer, that the U.S. Government and progressive, liberal, socialist polices, has systematically destroyed the black community in America (as a whole), since the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Benjamin Franklin famously said: “I am for doing good for the poor, but I differ in the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.” Booker T. Washington famously said: “”There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” LBJ famously said (while signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law aboard Air Force One): “I’ll have those niggers voting Democrat for the next 200 years.” So far, it’s working like a charm Mr. Johnson. Democratic, liberal, progressive, socialist policies (and about 20 Trillion Dollars since 1964, given to folks to disincentive-ize the desire for education and work have all but destroyed the black population (on the whole) in America. But then again, Jackson, Sharpton, Sheila Jackson-Lee, et al. can just keep blaming it on the white man. http://www.nationaljournal.com/all-powers/what-the-50-year-war-on-poverty-tells-us-about-government-20140107

      • Jen, when I read that I did not come away with the idea that fntsmk was saying there should not be civil rights for all. What he was saying, in my perception, anyway, was that those civil liberties have been manipulated to hinder and even destroy the very people they were intended to help.

  16. It’s important to stress the “creed of the earned”–not the “creed of the unearned.” To succeed, one needs to apply discipline to one’s talents and work for many years to make it. Of course, now the government has put up numerous obstacles in the way, so it’s considerably more difficult than in the time period from 1865 to 1900, the heyday of America.

  17. Col; I agree with you. My parents were hard working, and instilled that in myself and my brothers. You got a job and you worked for a living. Went to Church, respected your parents. The thought that I would ever challenge my Father sends chills up my spine.

    • Yes sir that is an accurate statement which applies to how I was raised & taught as well. I can’t even fathom disrespecting my Dad or Mom that terribly & getting up in their faces, challenging their authority. Wasn’t because of fear or anything of the sort but out of pure love & gratefulness for how great my parents were & how blessed of GOD I was to have them.

    • The only problem is the Liberals will chew him to bits continually lying about his hatred for people instead of groups.

      They will make it appear to the public that Mr. West HATES MUSLIMS. Where I agree with Mr. West in that I hate ISLAM. I do NOT hate Muslims. I cannot stand the ignorance in any Human being that would follow a religion because of race or for whatever other reason they do. I also cannot stand the conform or die attitude nationally from Islam. And I know Obama would love to do that here. He is a Muslim through and through.

      But Mr. West would have a hard time getting elected. IF it were after a successful presidency from a Republican I would say YES!

      But not with the way the Liberals are allowed to lie up a storm and get away with it.

      I would LOVE Mr. West to run and try though just to get the message I heard him speak so many times about the evils of Islam and the necessity of America to embrace its roots in the Constitution as Absolute.

      Then again, What do I know. Maybe he can win.

  18. saw this recently and felt it summed up my childhood….when I was acting up we didn’t get a “time out” we got what was call “times up” and that is when we got our butts warmed!

    • Amen to that….& my parents didn’t ask me to do something or ask me if I felt like it, but told me to do something & they didn’t mean later on either…LOL…it was done right then & there or you would have wished it was.

  19. Liberals are an oppressive people and even teach their own children to be oppressive. Like the saying goes, “Everything Liberals touch turns to ssh*t”.

  20. Mr. West, you are a superb intellectual and a very engaging writer. I especially appreciate how you made the most out of the critique, positive, edifying, nuanced, gently humored, and no snark. How wonderful it is to see the bar raised for quality and civility in public discourse.

  21. The communist agenda that started 60 years ago has taken strong hold of our culture. The dumbing down of our children in the education system and this new Common Core is doing more harm than good. It is the Jessie Jackson’s the Al Sharpton’s of our society that keep the Ghettos filled with adolescents who believe there is no chance for them to succeed. I agree with Our esteemed host. It is how the children are brought up by their parents that matters, no matter the race or whether they are Rich or Poor

    • It’s also pretty effective to HAVE parents! Fatherless children are…well, you know! I have no idea what it would be like to ask my mother who my daddy was and get an ‘I don’t know’ or an ‘In prison’ or a ‘Let’s ask Maury’….

  22. There are still great Black American leaders. This page is proof of one. It’s not your parenting that makes you a great person. It may help, but many, many people have overcome poor parenting to become outstanding leaders in the community. Education isn’t a guarantor either, just look at Bill Gates. Liberty is probably more essential to success than anything your parents or school does, and that is why we need to preserve it. Welfare makes you a slave to the state. Trying to ‘fit in’ to any culture makes you a slave to that culture. Good or bad, you can’t become a leader by being enslaved.

  23. I don’t think she failed to identify the causes. I think she left out the political narrative because the book is controversial enough as it is. If she said liberals were the cause of America’s downfall she’d be cutting her readership in half and tigers gotta eat 😉 Better to focus on the personal & social characteristics and let people decide who to vote for.

  24. she is right there’s no no no positive democrat black leaders today i say Allen West

    Condoleezza Rice and Sentar Tim Scott. Blacks folks time is up and the Obama’s are no Hero’s neither is Al Sharpton.or Rev Jesses Jackson

  25. I believe that anyone who will work and strive and has enough humility to know they aren’t special, and enough confidence to know they will succeed can become great

    in a country that gives everyone an opportunity and does not play favorites with the law. Of course, that used to be America, and no longer is.

  26. what kind of self absorbed people would write a book about their own cultural or ethnic superiority? is this the american version of Mein Kampf?

  27. I agree with Mr. West and he is living proof that anyone in America can make it if they stay strong and maintain morals and principals. The Great Society movement has all but destroyed the majority of Black Americans and that was their intentions all along. But with good guidance from your parents as a child you can make it here. My grandmother left Oklahoma during the Great Depression with 3 children and worked hard in Phoenix Arizona and within 10 years became a very successful business owner, all on a 3rd grade education. Why? Because she never gave up and just worked hard for her goals and achieved them which she passed on to her children. I thank God that her and my grandfather raised me and I passed on the learning lessons to my children. It’s the greatest gift you can give them.

  28. Now don’t forget, we have some lazy Hispanic and White people who also feel entitled. I don’t think people should have the lifetime aspiration of living on welfare. Set goals and try to make them happen.

  29. Who gives a damn what this old whore-of-satan thinks………….WHEN SHE STARTS PAYING MY BILLS, I’LL CONSIDER LISTENING TO HER RANTS………MEANTIME……..SHE CAN
    TAKE HER FOREIGN ASS BACK TO WHEREVER SHE CAME FROM……WE DON’T NEED HER ARROGANT ASS IN AMERICA !!!

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