Mormon Mommy Tigers?

 

 

Amy Chua

 

Hmmm.  I have  mixed feelings about this.

 

Do we really want to be on Amy Chua’s honors list?

 

Maybe so.  I like aspects of what she says.

 

But I’m not sure that I can fully warm up to the idea of “Tiger Moms.”

 

It’s absolutely obvious, though, that there are differences between cultures, and that some of those have implications for academic and economic success.  Some, in our racially charged society, apparently try to deny or ignore this, but it seems undeniable.  (I stress that it’s not racial, so far as I can see, but cultural.)

 

Mission San Gabriel Arcángel
(founded 1771)

I grew up in a fairly monochromatic white neighborhood in southern California.  There was, so far as I’m aware, one Jew at my high school.  (He was the son of the local rabbi.)  Many of the local Catholics attended a parochial school attached to the San Gabriel Mission. There were lots and lots of Hispanics at my high school (though not at my elementary school), and the whole area was trending heavily Hispanic by the time I left for college and mission and marriage and graduate school, but gringos and Mexicans tended to keep, by and large, to themselves.  And, frankly, the student leadership and the honors societies at San Gabriel High School were largely, if not entirely, non-Hispanic.  Suddenly, though, five or ten years after I graduated, the area turned rapidly and, soon, overwhelmingly Asian — Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese — which it still is.  And one thing that accompanied the influx of Asians was the arrival of small private schools designed to supplement what Asian parents plainly regarded as the insufficiently rigorous education at area high schools.  No such schools had existed during the white Protestant ascendancy, and the surge of Hispanic population hadn’t brought them, either.  But Asian influence brought them almost immediately.  After regular classes were over, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese kids crossed the street to “Little Harvard Academy” or some such thing, for another two or three hours of mathematics and science.  Their cultures’ strong emphasis on academic competitiveness was unmistakably visible — and indisputably different.

 

 

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  • peredehuit

    I don’t want to be on Amy Chua’s honors list. One of the principles she teaches is that success means having a superiority complex. I haven’t read her book. Accounts from at least one author who has states that she believes that any group that believes they are better than anyone else has an advantage. This reminds me of the Zoramites in the Book of Mormon who believed (Alma 31:17-18): “…hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, … And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.” I don’t want to be seen as someone who believes that I am better than those around me because it isn’t true. Being a chosen people means we have chosen to follow God not that we are better than anyone else: “’Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
    And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father’ (Moses 7:32–33; ). As we learn in these scriptures, the fundamental purposes for the gift of agency were to love one another and to choose God. Thus we become God’s chosen and invite His tender mercies as we use our agency to choose God.” Elder Bednar May 2005 Ensign (http://www.lds.org/liahona/2005/05/the-tender-mercies-of-the-lord)

    • Ryan

      That’s one superior way of looking at it.

      (lighthearted jest)

      • AuntSue

        All people on earth are children of God. Most just don’t know it.

    • Agni Ashwin

      “Being a chosen people means we have chosen to follow God”.

      Which implies that others haven’t chosen to follow God; and since God is the Ultimate Superior, Amy Chua’s logic naturally follows. In such a scenario, a sense of superiority is still present, and even more powerful since not recognized.

      • JohnH2

        One persons or group of people choosing to follow God doesn’t mean that other groups of people or persons haven’t also chosen to follow God. The sense of superiority doesn’t come from that, as there are other chosen people both ones that we know who they are and ones that we don’t.

        Being the one true and living church (D&C 1) has much more to do with a sense of superiority.

      • peredehuit

        I disagree. Yes, God is greater than all. However, what does he require of those who choose him? He requires (Mosiah 18:8-9): “…as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort..”. Bearing the burdens of others, comforting others etc. does not give anyone a superiority complex.

        • Agni Ashwin

          “Bearing the burdens of others, comforting others etc. does not give anyone a superiority complex.”

          Well, that’s debatable.

          • Scott Clark

            So bearing the burdens of and comforting others make a person feel superior? That isn’t my experience or the experience of those I know who take this injunction seriously. But you say its different than that?

    • AuntSue

      AuntSue
      We do teach our children that they are Sons and Daughters of God.

      • peredehuit

        Yes. That we are ALL children of God. Some, by their actions, choose to accept that fact some don’t.

        • AuntSue

          Sad but true.

  • RaymondSwenson

    Predominantly, the first generation of Asian immigrants have NOT been professionals or rich busines owners at first, but they arrived with a culture that valued education. Initial Chinese and Japanese immigrants were railroad workers and tenant.farmers and miners. But their children became doctors, lawyers, and engIneers. Any other American can succeed despite racial bias if he or she is willing to invest in education and work.

    • Duwayne_Anderson

      RaymondSwenson wrote: “Any other American can succeed despite racial bias if he or she is willing to invest in education and work.”

      The racist’s argument of choice — racial bias doesn’t really block anyone, if they are “willing to invest in education and work.” If a minority is suffering, it’s all their own damned fault for not working hard enough.

      • DanielPeterson

        If you’re accusing Raymond Swenson of racism, please come right out and say it.

        I don’t see anybody here denying that racial prejudice hurts or is wrong.

        But Raymond Swenson is right in saying that such prejudice can be, and often is, largely overcome or neutralized through education and hard work.

        • Duwayne_Anderson

          If you are siding with Raymond, please come right out and say it.

          As for Raymond, I simply pointed out that, whether or not he *is* a racist, he is certainly using an argument that many racists use.

          • DanielPeterson

            But is the argument incorrect?

            Many Nazis presumably believed that 2+2=4, and they were right to do so.

          • Duwayne_Anderson

            DanielPeterson wrote: “But is the argument correct?”

            Based on your comment that “Raymond Swenson is right,” it seems to me that you’ve already agreed that his argument is essentially correct.

            To me, though, the argument looks hopelessly simple minded at best, and the basis for justifying racism, at worst (thus its use by racists).

            For example, you said “Such prejudice can be, and often is, largely overcome.”

            Would you mind describe exactly what prejudice you are talking about? Please be specific, too, if you don’t mind.

            When you say prejudice can be “largely overcome,” do you mean by *any* person, under *any* circumstance, for *any* type of prejudice? If not, can you describe the exceptions?

            What do you mean by the phrase “largely overcome”? Overcome by 50%? By 90%? If one group in society has a perpetual disadvantage of even 10%, is that fair? Is it right? Should it be illegal? Can a long-term disadvantage, even if small, have deleterious effects for individuals?

            Assuming that you define exactly what you mean by “such prejudice” and assuming they “can be … largely overcome,” should societies and governments not implement anti-discrimination laws?

      • Guest

        Duwayne Anderson is the pissiest guy I’ve ever encountered on the internet.

        • Duwayne_Anderson

          Merriam Webster defines “pissy” as: “slang : irritating, annoying …”

          In that vernacular, I consider it a compliment when Mormon apologists call me “pissy.”

          Thanks.

          • Guest

            Getting pissier.

          • nc47

            Good for you! I was leaning toward the “inferior, nasty” definition but glad you’re able to find something to do with your life that gives you fulfillment and meaning. God bless you Billy Bob.

    • Brock Lesnar

      RaymondSwenson, I think you do a tremendous disservice to the Asian community when you throw out such stereotypical (and some think, racist) terms about the Asians being a so-called “model minority.”

      On the surface, it may sound rather benign and even flattering to be described in those generalized terms. However, we need to take a much closer look. In fact, many other statistics show that Asian Americans are still the targets of racial inequality and institutional discrimination and that the “model minority” image is a total myth.

      You’re right about education being the key. It looks like we need to do a much better job making sure education starts in our homes, and on Sic Et Non.

      • DanielPeterson

        I wonder what, if anything, Raymond Swenson may know about the Asian American community.

        Perhaps nothing, right? His name seems to suggest that he’s just another Scandinavian-American Mormon, like your obd’t servant. Pure, privileged, white-bread Euro-American.

        I wonder if he knows many Asian Americans at first hand.

        • Brock Lesnar

          Dan Peterson wrote:”I wonder what, if anything, Raymond Swenson may know about the Asian American community.”

          Obviously not enough to know the “model minority” image is nothing more than a myth.

          Obviously not enough to not perpetuate a false stereotype of the Asian community.

          Other than that, Raymond probably knows quite a bit.

          • ChssAddct

            Brock: what false stereotype and myth did Raymond perpetuate in his mere four sentances/assertions?

            ○ Initial Chinese and Japanese immigrants were railroad workers and tenant.farmers and miners.”
            Brock: Are you saying they were NOT?

            ○ Predominantly, the first generation of Asian immigrants have NOT been professionals or rich busines owners at first
            Brock: Are you saying that first generations Asian immigrants actually HAVE BEEN predominantly professional and/or rich business owners?

            ○ they arrived with a culture that valued education
            Brock: Are you saying that first generation Asian immigrants arrived rather with a culture that does NOT value education?

            ○ their children became doctors, lawyers, and engIneers.
            Brock are you saying that the children of first generation immigrants did NOT become doctors, lawyers, and engineers? (Of interest: Raymond Takashi Swenson is himself a lawyer)

            ○ Any American can succeed despite racial bias if he or she is willing to invest in education and work

            Brock: are you asserting that any American can succeed despite racial bias even if he or she is NOT willing to invest in education and work?

            I’m just confused as to which of these four assertions you disagree with.

          • Brock Lesnar

            ChssAddct wrote:
            “Brock: what false stereotype and myth did Raymond perpetuate in his mere four sentances/assertions?Initial Chinese and Japanese immigrants were railroad workers and tenant.farmers and miners.Are you saying they were NOT?”

            Yes. Of course not all Chinese and Japanese immigrants were railroad workers and tenant farmers and miners. Good grief. That is a horrible stereotype. I’m starting to think everyone here at Sic Et Non could you use a good dose of racial sensitivity training.

            ChssAddct wrote:
            “they arrived with a culture that valued education
            Brock: Are you saying that first generation Asian immigrants arrived rather with a culture that does NOT value education?”

            Yes. What another horrible stereotype you are perpetuating. The Asian immigrants were just like the rest of us, some valued education and others not so much. It does a real disservice to stereotype the whole Asian community like you’re doing.

            ChssAddct wrote:
            “their children became doctors, lawyers, and engIneers.
            Brock are you saying that the children of first generation immigrants did NOT become doctors, lawyers, and engineers? (Of interest: Raymond Takashi Swenson is himself a lawyer)”

            Again, what another horrible stereotype you are perpetuating. The Asian immigrants were just like the rest of us, some valued education and others not so much. Some became lawyers, some doctors and the whole gambit of occupations. It does a real disservice to stereotype the whole Asian community like you’re doing.

            ChssAddct wrote:
            “Any American can succeed despite racial bias if he or she is willing to invest in education and work.Are you asserting that any American can succeed despite racial bias even if he or she is NOT willing to invest in education and work?”

            Yes, anyone can become successful without investing in education and work. It happens everyday in America. Although it certainly improves one’s odds for success if they value and invest in education.

        • ChssAddct

          Given that his quite public facebook page lists his hometown as Nagoya-shi, Aichi, Japan, and that one of his languages is Japanese, and that his friend list has at least a half-dozen asians or asian-americans, I would guess that yes he knows maybe one or two Asian Americans first hand. But then, I think you probably knew that much yourself, you clever boy. ;) For that matter, might he even have close Asian heritage, despite the stereotypical Scandinavian-American sounding name? Hmmm.

          Update: A bit more googling reveals that Raymond’s name is actually Raymond Takashi Swenson. Curiouser and curiouser.

          • DanielPeterson

            Obviously, Raymond Swenson is far less qualified than Brock Lesnar to have anything to say about Asian Americans.

            I think he’s an excellent candidate for racial-sensitivity-reeducation at Camp Lesnar.

          • Brock Lesnar

            Obviously.

            Camp Lesnar…… Hmmm. I like the sound of that.

          • $16977560

            Dude! Seriously!
            You are being baited beyond all rational thought. And you are snapping at every single dangle in front of your jaws.
            When a person starts off with the “Mormons are racist” meme, it may be hard to see that you have been taken for a Nantucket sleigh ride.
            Just what in Shiloam do you think a middle name of “Takashi” means?
            “I don’t often side with Daniel Petersen, but when I do, it ‘s because he’s caught a Big fish”

    • Guest

      Raymond (Asian2Asian): that is factually correct but not very informative. Most Indian and Taiwanese immigrants come to the country for graduate school, not to work on the railroad. Their kids get a head start.

  • Bernardo_Gui47

    Our area of Western Washington has had a huge influx of Korean immigrants. The first generation established themselves in small businesses like convenience stores and worked their heads off to support the kids. The children were first-rate students with a monstrous work and study ethic. As an orchestra teacher, I was the beneficiary of their desires to excel in all areas including stringed instruments. This second generation has been phenomenally successful in academics, the arts, etc., and now we are starting to see the 3rd generation coming up….some of this cultural emphasis on education and achievement, sacrifice for family, bringing honor to the parents is persisting, but some are becoming quite Americanized. I have had dozens of Korean students, and as is the nature of orchestra instruction, some have been in my orchestras from 4th through 12th grades, and then continue their friendship after high school. Most of my older sons’ best friends are Korean, and a number have joined the Church. They are rock-solid pillars with high ethical and family values. For many years I never had any discipline problem of any kind with my Korean students. This has changed a bit as the younger generation slides into the predominant cultures, even there still is a lot of insulation around the Asian cultures….keeping the language, specific language and academic tutoring, in-house business dealings, etc. Educators have been on the top of their list of people they respected. On several occasions I have been a guest of honor at family dinners and celebrations. This never ever happened with with any other ethnic group in our area. There are “Little Koreas” in our region where shops, businesses, Kia and Hyundai dealerships, restaurants, etc., thrive, since there is quite a bit of loyalty among the folks. All in all, it has been a very positive thing. Plus, I eat a lot of kimchee now, and have a spectacular Korean/American daughter-in-law. One thing negative was the extreme stress brought on by very, very high expectations from the parents and the community. For example, a brilliant former student whose parents expected him to become a doctor or lawyer “shamed” the family by becoming an orchestra director. Of course he is highly competent and successful and becoming a pillar in the local music scene, but this is not compensation for his failure to pursue a more lucrative and prestigious career. Come to think of it, just about anything would be more lucrative and prestigious than orchestra director.

  • Surprise123

    Thank you for bringing up this topic. I think it’s an important one. It begins to honestly ask why certain immigrant groups, certain communities “succeed” in accumulating wealth and resources ACROSS GENERATIONS, and others do not.

    One important aspect of Confucian-influenced immigrant groups, Mormons, and Jews is that they all value System 2 analytic thinking (aka abstract thinking) in most of their members (and, not just in an insular, elite bureaucratic or clerical class). They have also all, with more or less success, ensured that that analytic thinking is not turned against the very beliefs that support group cohesion.

    In opposition to other groups, Confucian, Mormon, and Orthodox Jewish communities, demand a lot of emotional investment, a lot of time from their participants. And, if participants do not live up to those expectations, there are serious consequences.

    It will be interesting to see how Confucianism fares in America in the future, though. In opposition to Mormonism and Orthodox Judaism, which have real barriers to marrying outside of the faith, Confucianism proscribes no limitations. Which is one reason why many 2nd (and even 1st) generation Asian Americans are comfortable marrying people of other ideologies. If Confucianism is completely divorced from the State, and must compete for adherents in a multi-cultural society, can it survive to any real degree?

    Amy Chua, a 1st generation Asian American still under the influence of Confucianism, married a 3rd(?), 4th (? – I’m guessing here) generation Jewish American, still under the influence of Rabbinical Judaism, but not an Orthodox Jew. The compromise they came up with was that as long as their daughters were raised in the Jewish faith (attended synagogue from time to time, and learned enough Hebrew for their Bat Mitzvahs), Ms. Chua could have full reign in raising the children.

    As I recall in reading “Tiger Mom,” Chua was concerned about the permissive influence of her Jewish mother-in-law, which is very odd, because she, Chua, obviously admired very much the results of that woman’s nurturing, her very own Jewish husband. But, in addition to limiting her daughters’ exposure to other, less academically inclined American children and their less academically inclined parents, she even limited exposure to their very own grandmother. Why?
    Will Chua’s daughters, the 2nd generation, be able and willing to use the same tough – love, success-enhancing techniques on their own children, after they leave the sphere of their mother’s influence?
    Perhaps only those cultures which are capable of SIGNIFICANTLY influencing the sexuality and mating decisions of their children, even in the absence of State support and in the presence of a highly competitive market for identity, ensure that grandchildren will exist, and, for the most part, remain members of the tribe.
    Perhaps this is the only way to ensure that values and communal wealth are transmitted across generations.


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