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Debunked: Tiger Mom Amy Chua’s new book on why some cultural groups are failures

Peter Mahakian
The infamous Yale Professor who brought us the New York Times best selling Battle Hym of he Tiger Mom” is back! 
This time, Amy Chua has paired up with her Jewish husband Jed Rubenfeld in a new book where the two enumerate the cultural (read: ethnic) groups that make the best and most superior mothers, and thus produce superior children.
They are: 
Jewish
Indian
Chinese
Iranian
Lebanese-Americans
Nigerians
Cuban exiles
Mormons
In The Triple Package, Chua and Rubenfeld list three characteristics they say make mothers in these groups exceptional: Superiority Complex, Insecurity and Impulse Control. 
The  New York Post did a good job summarizing these attributes but in a nutshell it comes down to parents in those groups (1) believe they are better people than and superior to others, (2) are insecure about being called out as not being genuine or shamed if they fail, and (3) can control impulses to spend too much or get sidetracked; and are resilient and focused in the pursuit of success.
African Americans are not successful because since the civil rights era, they, as a group, have lived their lives being told and made to feel inferior. Because of that, they lack the superiority complex needed to be successful people.
Interesting theory. 
The conservatives who believe that black Americans’ historical reliance on government assistance have created people who are weighted by living their lives as victims of oppression may agree.
Controversy sells. 
Chua knows this given the success of her first book. The villain in any movie, TV or book series is memorable, get airplay and stay on the minds and mouths of the public.
So who cares if the theories are based on disjointed themes, fallacies and are layered with inconsistencies, right?
For example, how can one think they are the best yet live their lives in constant fear of being labeled a “fraud”, and insecure?  That would mean they are thus inferior to those who live and behave freely without that irrational fear.  
Thus, Chua and Rubenfeld’s version of “superiority” amounts to self-induced false bravado based on awareness of ancestral greatness, that is then used as a coping mechanism to propel one forward, as a buoy from  sinking under the weight of others’ criticism. 
No thanks. They can keep that.
And shouldn’t we want secure and content parents who teach their children to be genuine in their selves?
The book seems to elevate social climbers, people who spend their entire lives clawing to the top of the socio-economic ladder only to be miserable, friendless and on anxiety meds and in therapy.


It also seems to equate success with wealth and success in work and business, while discounting the costs.
Be mindful that many rich people struggle with drugs and alcohol abuse, and also India and China have a  high suicide rate some of it induced by pressures from parents and their society to succeed.

So success at what cost and by what standards?

One study found that rich kids are more likely to use drugs than poor ones, and rich teen girls have more abortions than poor teens. All of the measures of success can be countered with research that digs into them. 
Finally, the distinctions between a Nigerian and a Ethiopian mom; an Indian and Pakistani mom; a Lebanese American and a Syrian-American mom are negligible. Whatever qualifying measures Chua and Rubenfeld came up with to pick out one over the other could probably be seen in abundance in another closely related group with similar ethic, cultural and historic backgrounds.
Rather, it is arbitrary to make distinctions and apportion them to such large groups.

It all comes off as unsubstantiated and a bit silly. But it will get us all talking for sure. Look at us now.

What do you think about Chua’s new book? Have you read it? Will you?

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