January 12, 2011

KATIE GRANJU: The Problems With Amy Chua’s “Tiger Mother” Hypothesis.

If Chua’s suggested parenting methods really work to create superior abilities in the children raised in this way, then the methods should be applicable to any area of activity or initiative. And while Chua smugly points to “tons” of studies in which Chinese kids are shown to make better math grades, I am going to have to checkmate her by noting the fact that there aren’t any Chinese kids playing in the NFL. Does the fact that such a high percentage of highly paid, very successful professional atheletes are African American mean that African American mothering is “superior” to Chua-style parenting? Obviously, I am engaging in a bit of pretzel logic here, but so is Chua, and she’s trying to use it to belittle and demean other cultures, stereotype her own culture, and of course, to sell books.

Speaking from personal experience, I’m pretty sure the last of these predominates. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: No, I’m not talking about experience with Amy Chua — she came to the Yale Law faculty after I left and I don’t know her personally. I’m referring to the pressure put on authors to sell books. In particular, I was told that you should always have some outrageous statement that can be used to build publicity. In An Army of Davids, for example, I should have predicted that newspapers would be dead within a decade — or, better yet, within five years. Trouble is, I didn’t actually think that, but it would have generated a lot of buzz . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Charles Murray: Amy Chua Bludgeons Entire Generation of Sensitive Parents, Bless Her.