Read Nadra Kareem Little’s post “Race Card: The Chinese Parenting Controversy and the Vilification of Mothers of Color,” one of the better social commentaries on the deeply controversial Wall Street Journal essay by Yale professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” Amy Chua, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.” In her post, Little breaks down the racial politics behind her essay. Chua claims that harsh parenting by Chinese mothers promotes success and a standard of excellence in their children.
Little sidesteps the debate around Chua’s childrearing philosophy to talk about the stereotype about minority mothers that pervades Western media and culture: “Mothers of color are cruel.” Little talks more about our society’s hypocritical stance on mothering according to racial lines. Western mothers are not criticized for being “too soft” and “loving” while Asian, African American, and Latina mothers are considered abusive taskmasters to be feared and not praised. Her best line:
So, even in an essay which tries to argue that Chinese mothers are superior, the ultimate point made is that minority mothers are ruthless, and white mothers are compassionate.
On a personal note, I do remember days wishing that I could be as lucky as the Tanner kids from “Full House” or the Seaver kids every time my Filipina mom berated me about getting a 99 on a test. Enough about me. What do you think about Chua’s essay and Little’s response? (Note: As of this date, Chua’s article has garnered 6722 comments.)
More commentaries mentioned by Little:
- Angry Asian Man: “Your Permissive Western Parenting Is Inferior“
- Gawker: “I Wish My Chinese Mother Screamed At Me More Often“
- The Black Snob: “Berating Your Children Into ‘Greatness’“
- Disgrasian: “You Hated The Excerpt, Now Read the Book“
For the other side of the debate, read Jeff Yang’s interview with the author in which he side with the “Tiger Mom.”