There’s been a bit of public navel gazing by the Asian-American community lately with the tigermom and paper tiger articles, and I suppose I should comment since the topic tracks some of the things I blog about. Namely Asians, education and positive life outcomes.
I’m late to the discussion, but better late than never I suppose. Many in the Asian activist community criticized Chua for her (out-of-context) excerpt in the WSJ, but my view, influenced by data in such works as The Nurture Assumption, is that parenting matters less than we think it does. Our IQ and personality are, if not immutable, at least rather difficult for the average person out there to change.
The Paper Tigers article is interesting insofar as it made the feature article of a big magazine, but it’s topics are familiar to those in the Asian activist community. I post at the forum yellowworld.org that was namedropped in the article and they found the specific thread that was quoted. The quote originated from a longtime critic of Asians who exemplify the model minority … uh model. He’s actually considered a bit of a singular topic whack as he injects every discussion he participates in with vitriol for elitist Asians.
Anyways. The discussion generated by the article has tracked a familiar path. We haven’t broken new ground. There have been no epiphanies. Wesley Yang’s article is so intensely personal that I’m not sure how many other Asians can identify with him except for hitting the bamboo ceiling. I used to be concerned with the bamboo ceiling, and I still am in certain respects. However, the bamboo ceiling is partly self-inflicted because some aspects of Asian culture don’t lend themselves to getting ahead in western culture. Activists tend to get a little overwrought thinking about it, but I’m starting to get more comfortable with it.