African-Americans, American mothers, Amy Chua, Asians of other than Chinese descent, bad parents, black people, childhood, China, Chinese mothers, cultural elitism, demanding parents, foot-binding, horrible jobs, infanticide, Latinos, Native Americans, parenting, preference for males in Chinese culture, racism, roundeyes, sacrificing youth, sinosuperiority, smug parents, superior mothers, sweatshops, tedium, thanks a lot mom, United States of America, Wall Street Journal, white people
If you’ve been a student in any multi-ethnic society during the last twenty years, you may have noticed a particular scholastic trend among Asian students. They do better than you. Like most people, you probably figured that the Asian kids were simply smarter. While such an intellectual disparity may be possible–even likely, it only tells half the story. The secret to the Asian kid’s success isn’t simply her own intelligence, but that her parents are wildly superior to your lame-ass mom and dad.
Or so says Amy Chua. Writing recently in the Wall Street Journal, Chua argues for the superiority of Chinese parenting, whose techniques she employs in her own parenting. The author happily boasts about regimenting her daughters’ lives, gleefully excising any activity which does not contribute directly toward a Harvard matriculation. Unlike lazy roundeye parents who place an inordinate value upon their children’s happiness and ability to control their own destinies, superior Chinese parents do things just a little bit differently. The only real difference between an Americanized child and one of Chua’s hyper-achievers is that the loafing yankee gets to have sleepovers, play a musical instrument other than the piano or violin, have unstructured free time and to participate in the various carefree activities which constitute a normal childhood.
As might be expected, Ms. Chua’s opinions are not shared by everyone. Many lackluster white, Latino, black and Asian-of-other-than-Chinese-descent mothers* take exception to Chua’s smarmy critique of their parenting.
Chua is dismissive of the idea that her behavior will cause her daughters to one day resent her. “They already resent me. I resent my mother, and she her mother before her. But as long as my girls graduate first in their class at Harvard and enter into a loveless power marriage, I’ll be satisfied.” When asked what would make her truly happy, Chua said, “Happiness is for chumps.”
Some observers note that Ms. Chua has not been completely honest when she claims to have raised her daughter in the traditional Chinese method. For example, it appears her daughters can walk without difficulty, indicating that Chua has likely eschewed the ancient tradition of foot-binding. Moreover, that the author has two daughters seems to fly in the face of her claims. In traditional Chinese culture the young ladies would have been drowned at birth, preserving the family’s precious resources for a much-more valuable boy child.
In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Amy Chua said that the book (from which the article you cited was excerpted from) was supposed to be a memoir and a self-parody, and has been misinterpreted. It was supposed to be funny. In the interview, she also says that she does not honestly believe Chinese parents are superior.
The poor lady was just trying to make a joke about her own experience.
Thanks for the comment, Adrienne! Please come again. It’s not surprising Chua would say it was a joke. That’s the same tactic used by Don Imus and Michael Richards.
I believe Smaktakula was trying to express two things in his piece:
1) That Promethean Times opposes racism and intolerance in ANY form.
2) That you just can’t trust the Chinese.
Alex Autin said:
No, this is just clever and in no way related to being sent straight to hell. In fact…the entire ‘straight to hell’ thing was just a joke on my part, a self-parody, which was misinterpreted. ; )
No misinterpretation! Although ‘straight to hell’ his something of an oxymoron, as we all know the straight & narrow path leads to the pearly gates.