Amy Chua's "Model Minority" Parenting Designed to Stir the Pot
A recent post in the Wall Street Journal by a high-powered Chinese American mom baldly purports to say Why Chinese Moms Are Superior.* Apparently it’s because it’s an approach that can turn out first-violinists and neurosurgeons.
The post comes on the heels of recent international tests scores that showed students from China (Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau) surging from seemingly nowhere to take over the highest rankings on achievement tests measuring reading, science, and math among fifteen year olds. The results have made much of the rest of the world cringe at the mediocre results of their own children as measured by PISA.
I’m sure the post will generate a lot of responses–in the finger pointing that ensued after PISA results were released, parents were seen as the main reason for American children’s mediocrity.
And the responses from other Asian American parents have started to trickle in. Tina Chase asks Are Western Mothers Inferior?, with the mild hope that Asian American parenting can be a middle way between lax “Western” parenting and overbearing “Chinese” parenting. Betty Liu’s blog is much more refreshingly honest in its critique: Parents Like Amy Chua Are The Reason Why Asian Americans Like Me Are in Therapy.
So, now that the pot’s been stirred, what do you think? I’ll follow up with my own critique of the tempest in a green-tea pot later. For now I’ll say it’s interesting how American insecurity about international competitiveness has suddenly vaulted a tiny, completely ignored corner of the parenting blogosphere–Asian American parenting–into the spotlight, for some good (but many wrongheaded) reasons.
*(I have much to say about this, have in fact been blogging about feminist Asian Pacific American parenting issues at my personal blog P i l l o w b o o k since becoming a parent in 2003, and at Los Angeles Moms Blog here in particular and here. But I want to hear what you have to say about it first.)