Does anyone remember Amy Chua, the "Tiger Mom" whose ode to what she defined as the Chinese way of raising children went viral back in 2011? She was the Yale law professor who defended an incredibly disciplined program of academic rigor to ensure that her children -- and children of fellow "Tiger Moms" -- would end up in Ivy League schools and at the top of their chosen profession.
Hey, it was cool. Back then. But now Chua is back. Her new book, written with her husband Jed Rubenfeld, is far, far worse. The Triple Package posits that there are eight "superior" ethnic groups (race is apparently never mentioned) and that each one of them is more successful than other ethnicities.
Um, wow. I think she has finally crossed the line from trolling mothers and parenting blogs to trolling us all. Superior cultures? Really? She says Jewish people, Indian people, Chinese people, Iranian people, Lebanese-Americans, Nigerians, Cuban exiles, and Mormons fare the best in the US. But why?
According to Chua and her husband, these eight cultural groups have three qualities that lead to wealth and power: superiority, insecurity, and impulse control.
Hooray for them. That really is awesome. But her theory here is so flawed and so racist, it's hard to even know where to begin. In her own words:
That certain groups do much better in America than others — as measured by income, occupational status, test scores, and so on — is difficult to talk about. In large part, this is because the topic feels so racially charged.
Yup. So why are we talking about it? I have yet to read the book and maybe if I do, I will find that the things she says aren't as offensive as they seem on first glance. And I am not some politically correct ninny who is afraid of facing uncomfortable truths. But there is something inherently discomfiting about implying that any cultural group is somehow better than another.
The fact is, people are individuals. While growing up in my Jewish home, I would agree that education and success were pushed, but I am not sure I would be comfortable stating that those somehow make us superior.
The reality is people who have money have children who are better at making money. No matter what your cultural background is, that seems to be the reality for us all. They get better school, more opportunity, more money to throw at problems, and on and on. So is it the culture? Or the money? Chicken or the egg?
It just feels like a series of stereotypes that will anger those outside of those groups and cause the wrong kinds of debates. We need things that help us come together, not things that further tear us apart.
Do you think this book is offensive?
Image via CNN