Asian American and Pacific Islanders are an
increasing share of students today and in the future states a new study in the American Center for Progress Tiger Parents . Forty-nine percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This compares favourably against white Americans (30%), African-Americans (19%) and Latinos (13%). These racial disparities can be seen in school as well, and they increase when postgraduate degrees are thrown into the mix.
Amy Chua, a self-declared “tiger mother” who became famous for promoting the benefits of harsh parenting, would put this down to culture. She has argued that Chinese-American children statistically out-perform their peers because they are pushed harder at home. This is an argument she reiterated in a recent book, “The Triple Package”, written with her husband Jed Rubenfeld, a fellow law professor at Yale, in which she ascribes the success of different cultures in America to a “triple package” comprised of a superiority complex, insecurity and good impulse control. In other words, certain groups tell themselves they are better than other groups, but learn that they have to work hard to succeed, and must resist temptation and distraction in proving themselves.
“Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids”, because “Chinese mothers are superior”. Chinese matriarchs are better because they are tougher, stricter and readier to be loathed for banning children from almost any form of fun, from play dates to—horrors!—computer games. Indulgent Western parents, cosseting their baa-lambs’ self-esteem and releasing them to play in the mud when they could be doing extra arithmetic or practising scales, are condemning them to a life of underachievement.