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Friday, 14 February 2014

Tiger Mum Asian Inferiority Complex- Why Amy Chua Has It Wrong

Art via Yuko Art

There has been uproar in the U.S recently with tiger mom, Amy Chua and husband Jed Rubenfield's release of 'The Triple Package'.

In this book, the pair acknowledge that Chinese, Jews, Indians, Iranians, Lebanese Americans, Nigerians, Cubans and Mormons are the most successful ethnic groups above Blacks, Whites, Hispanics; thus sparking national fury and condemnation.

A couple of years ago, Yale law professor Chua wrote and published an article titled, 'Why Chinese mothers are superior' where she proudly recollects memories of her daughters not being allowed to have sleepovers and telling them that they can't achieve a grade lower than an 'A'. Whereas in another time, she threw a birthday card her then 4- yr- old daughter had made for her, back in her face.

What was her daughter's reaction a couple of years later? 'I'm glad you and daddy raised me the way you did'. What would be her reaction had her daughters not done so well in their education? Physical punishment? Persistent put-downs and constant mockery in front of their relatives, friends, to themselves?

There appears to be some hullabaloo within the Asian- American community lately, stemmed by Amy Chua's comments about hardcore tiger mom tactics in raising their children by Chinese parents, whilst berating the West and accusing them of being slackers.

The preaching that one race is better than the others, because their methods in dealing with situations in a 'do it my way - or else' syndrome, illustrates the false notion that the Western world is 110% evil and can't be completely trusted and raises questions about diaspora and racial identity.

Inflicting physical, emotional abuse as punishment to their children and to say Chinese mothers are superior to mothers of other races, is instilling racial arrogance and it is also a bunch of bull. Nobody is perfect, no race is perfect. But when one person tries to speak on behalf of their ethnicity and attacking others, whilst claiming they are perfect and better than everyone else, that's when things can become dangerous.

It is dangerous to label people and put them into boxes according to success, because it plays into the hands of not just racists but Asians, who themselves do not wished to be defined this way.

Apparently, the existence of Amy's book adds fuel to the fire and further ignites and reinforces stereotypes and generalization of Asians and people of Chinese diaspora origin.

This leads to things such as Asian kids committing suicide - China in particular has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Chua once said her father called her 'garbage'. Another time, she called her daughter garbage to her face. SMH.

If that isn't verbal abuse, I don't know what is. It appears to me this woman is out of touch with reality and comes across as ignorant and narrow-minded.

This 'hardcore' approach to tough love is rather sad. Sad because 'we' (speaking as an Asian myself) are being socially conditioned to have certain standards. Standards of which are so high, that even doing your very best, isn't good enough for Asian folk.

To them getting grades equates more money, more financial stability. But it completely neglects the fact in spite of the grades, they care more for their child earning money. Money to them equals happiness, when that logic is not entirely true.

To say that if you don't have A grades and a good education, you are considered worthless and will amount to nothing in life all the time, borders on mental abuse.

It's interesting how the Black and white racial communities look to the Asian methods of parenting and education as the so-called standard model for them to aspire to. When this 'tiger mum' - or mom as known in the US, mom mentality - has its negative points.

I read a study that reports that in Chinese culture, parents based on theirs, and I may also add their children´s self-worth on respect and how much respect and self worth they get. They use psychological control to make their kids perform better.

Hence, when their children do not perform well in their academic studies, for Chinese mothers this reflects badly on them and they believe other people, including their own family members will look at them differently, perhaps negatively.

People like Chua are fostering old-fashioned fuddy duddy values of their parents; values that praise Eastern mentality and thus accepting them as valid. Whereas US, British Western values are dismissed altogether.

They want their kids to attain A grades and become lawyers or work in business. Not every Asian child wants to follow in their parents footsteps. They want to live their own lives and be successful on their own terms. Not of their parents.

These are the same parents who bulk at their sons and daughters, children of whom want to pursue a careers in the arts, entertainment world for example; even though their kids have not only the skills but the passion, drive and persistence to follow their dreams.

I wished people follow their hearts and do what they always wanted, rather than do something just to make their parents happy, or because their parents told them to do it. Or they pushed them to do it. It is their way of saying, you can be happy but only at our expense.

And that is to me is not right.

Education isn't a race-thing and it shouldn't really be one. There are ways to ensure children, regardless of their ethnicity, succeed and do well, rather than bash other racial groups.

Chinese parents can be too protective of their kids, and whilst I realize they want what is best for them, at the end of the day, it is up to their child/ren, whose final decision rests with them.

Amy Chua needs to realise this.

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