I'm not sure what's worse, her treatment of her daughters, the fact that her daughters accept this sort of dictatorship, her snooty, higher-than-thou attitude, or the fact that she states that this method is exclusively for Chinese parents. This, in her twisted mind, is the right way, the "real Chinese way" to raise robots (whoops, I mean children). The "real" Chinese way? Amy Chua states that she "[knows] some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise." Meaning that because my mom (and probably lots of other Chinese mommies) didn't raise me the same way Chua raised her offspring, my mom is not Chinese? Um..."Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:• attend a sleepover• have a playdate• be in a school play• complain about not being in a school play• watch TV or play computer games• choose their own extracurricular activities• get any grade less than an A• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama• play any instrument other than the piano or violin• not play the piano or violin."
Amy Chua is totally buying into the model minority stereotype by saying that "A lot of people... wonder what these [Chinese] parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it." She embodies this stereotype and, most horrifyingly, is proud of it, stating that "the Chinese strategy (of parenting) produces a virtuous circle" whereas the "Western parents tend to give up" and that they "can only ask their kids to try their best." She praises the (in her mind) distinctly and only Chinese work ethic, saying that is where the "math whizzes and music prodigies" come from. At the same time, she belittles the Western parenting style as being not strict enough and too "concerned about their children's psyches." (Because everyone knows that the emotional stability of your child isn't worth crap next to academic excellency...) Chua turns the model minority on its head by essentially saying that Chinese kids aren't inherently gifted - it's the parents that push their children into being gifted and brilliant. It's the "Chinese way" of having high expectations that gets them so far in academics. Chua, making another grand, arrogant statement, proclaims, "If a Chinese child gets a B - which would never happen - there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion. The devastated Chinese mother would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice tests and work through them with her child for as long as it takes to get the grade up to an A." So really, she, as the all-powerful "mother," should be praised for the successes of her children. Chua called her daughter, Luisa, self-indulgent when she was having trouble learning a musical piece - if anything, the way Chua screams for attention and praise for her parenting style is more self-indulgent than her daughter ever was.
The title that Chua slapped on her parenting method (The Chinese Way) is also concerning. The damages from this newly named parenting style will be enormous and hard to get rid of. Chua's "Confucian filial piety" method on steroids is, so far, the only example of an ethnicity-based method that is at the forefront of everyone's consciousness. The fact that it is so tied to being Chua's interpretation of "Chinese" makes the horrific treatment of the children even worse. This is not an issue of raising children a newfangled way - it's the issue of raising them the (specifically) Chinese way. For people who have never met an Asian person (let alone someone of Chinese descent) or cannot even begin to fathom the existence of this type of dictatorship (sorry, parenting), this title becomes synonymous with Chinese people and therefore, Chinese parents. It may prompt people to think that "those Chinese parents are horrible people who have no love for their children" or something along those lines. It prompts me to think that Any Chua ought to be excommunicated from the Asian-American community.
|Those poor girls...|
This woman is a monstrosity. A smarmy, self-serving, arrogant "mother" with Machiavellian "ends-justify-the-means" and "extreme tough love bordering on abuse" parenting techniques. Ironically, she mentions "all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids' true interests." Was that a shameless, self-indulgent plug for her own book, Battle Hymn for the Tiger Monster? Oops, I mean "Mother."
Check the comments section below for further discussion!
An elegant rebuttal to Chua's techniques and the psychological damages to children that her methods will have.
More links all over the web - Especially this one.