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?