imaginary family values presents

yesh omrim

a blog that reclines to the left


Why American newspapers are inferior

11 January 2011

Amy Chua’s paean to academic stage-motherhood, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, has been making the rounds on teh intarwebs. I can’t add much to the commentary surrounding the op-ed itself (there’s a lot of interesting discussion on MetaFilter), but I do want to follow up on a follow-up, as it were.

On Quora, a Chinese-American woman reprinted an email she got from Chua:

Thank you for taking the time to write me, and I’m so sorry about your sister [who was driven to overachieve and committed suicide at age 30]. I did not choose the title of the WSJ excerpt, and I don’t believe that there is only one good way of raising children. The actual book is more nuanced, and much of it is about my decision to retreat from the “strict Chinese immigrant” model.

But millions of Wall Street Journal readers, plus the vast majority of the people passing this link around the Net, are not going to read about any nuance. They are going to feel satisfied by an op-ed that

  1. satisfies their base interest in dramatic conflict
  2. confirms a pernicious stereotype about Asians
  3. teaches that your success in life is 100% controlled by your level of effort

In the dialect of my own immigrant ancestors: Feh.

via Hacker News and elsewhere