ABC News swallows the Tiger Mom stereotype, spreads it around for viewers in a “What would you do?” segment

This made me very sad. It proves that Amy Chua’s book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” whether meant as a semi-humorous memoir where she’s changed by the end and not as a mothering handbook (as she claims), has been institutionalized as the actual way Asian mothers raise their kids. The media have gobbled up the trope as accurate cultural fact, and spit it back out as theater, here in the form of an ABC News “What would you do?” segment during which an Asian “mom” berates her “daughter” (both are actors) in a restaurant for getting an A-.

I bet anyone who views this will nod their head and accept the stereotype as reality.

It’s a damned shame. If it weren’t taken so seriously by the bystanders and the reporter, John Quinones, and host George Stephanopoulos, it would be a comical scene. I hope that if this ripple effect truly wasn’t what Amy Chua meant by her book, she’s mortified by what she’s accomplished. (From Angry Asian Man via Jeff Yang)

A Chinese tiger mom explains why being a hard-ass Asian parent is better for your kids than Western coddling

My mom, brother and me at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, eayly 1960sWow, the WSJ has a book excerpt today, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” written by Amy Chua, a Yale law school professor that boggles my mind and sends a chill down my spine. It’s her blunt declaration that the values of Chinese (and I’m telescoping it out to include all Asian) mothers are better for raising kids than “Western” parenting style.

She acknowledges the stereotype that Asian moms are hard-asses and then goes on to say that being tough on your kids is a Chinese mom’s way of showing they know the kids can a) get an A in the class, b) learn that difficult piece on the piano c) excel at everything the Chinese mom says is important. It’s just a different way of showing your children you love them, she says. She states her case so emphatically that this essay really just fortifies those American stereotypes. I can hear parents in conservative households murmuring their agreement: “See Martha, I knew there’s a reason why those Chinese are always so damned good at math and science!”

Here’s how the article starts:

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

• have a playdate
• attend a sleepover
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.

This has to be a joke, I thought, except the Wall Street Journal probably doesn’t have a sense of humor and doesn’t run satire pieces. Take this line, for instance: “If a Chinese child gets a B—which would never happen—there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion.”

Nope, Chua, who was born in 1962 a year after her parents immigrated to the US, is serious. In fact, this essay is an excerpt from a book being published this week, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”
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