Are Chinese Mothers Superior?

Lost in all the noise was Chua’s quiet assertion that though her parents were strict and harsh -- and yes, her dad once called her garbage and she once reflexively called her daughter that -- she never doubted her parents’ love for her. And obviously she is pleased enough with her own outcome to follow in their steps. This is actually a culturally appropriate thing for her to do.

Alas for Chua, the American mantra of multiculturalism and diversity must not extend to Asians -- particularly as we find ourselves in the midst of almost incomprehensible global changes, with a president seemingly determined to hand over the reins of world leadership and finance to China.

This is all by way of saying that, with 290,00 Google results for amy+chua+chinese+mothers, there’s surely a lot more going on in the American psyche than meets the eye. And note, since Chua’s 18-year-old daughter published a defense of her mother on January 17th, she too has been mocked and ridiculed.

As in the case of Palin Hatin', only fear can evoke this kind of response. And that fear may be well warranted. Tom Wilkinson commented at the WSJ:

This is a wake up call. The Chinese are eating our lunch by ignoring the feel good fake social science that US/Western academics have been manufacturing for years. For years we sloughed off the superior performance of the Chinese by saying that they were stifling creativity and later in life they burn out, fail to achieve because they only know how to work [...].

Tough love and hard work works. Get over it. Our thinking only works in Walt Disney animated movies. The Chinese are preparing themselves to win in the real world -- where there is another Chinese kid around every corner trying to outwork you. But I am sure Yale would prefer a more creative and flexible person on staff to teach their kids -- oops, maybe not.

For Chua, the misogynistic backlash is, I believe, mixed with subconscious but growing fear that maybe our relaxed parenting standards, academic expectations, and work protocols have placed us in a position where we may well have not only become inferior, but are stupidly and stubbornly determined to celebrate our inferiority.

Whatever you do, don’t make us have to rethink our positions and parenting/education styles. You see, the real secret of what sets Amy Chua apart is something every parent knows deep inside: it’s easier to be nice, and much more difficult to be a demanding but loving parent. Chua’s high sense of purpose and her own self-discipline in pushing her kids towards a brighter future show a kind of love lost several decades ago when parents decided it was more fun to be cool.