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I have a written an admittedly lengthly response to Wesley Yang. And I concede that just like Amy Chua, what he wrote did affect me very personally. Please read and tell me what you think (I know it's lengthy, just bear with it).
My entire response is available on my NY Magazine profile page...
2 years, 7 months ago on Wesley Yang's "Paper Tigers" and the APA Identity Crisis
Zahira Danny_Ahmed Discussing about it helps a lot. In fact, I find it to be quite cathartic.
Although I'm a frequent visitor to this site and have even posted before, this is the first time I have used my real name, like ever on the Internet.
I still resent the hell out of Amy Chua, but in a way, I'm glad she brought all these issues into the forefront.
With that said, it's the first time that a written article has affected me. I mean, really touched upon a nerve. I think that's why it's the first time I have ever used my real name on the internet when writing something. Something about Chua's article was traumatic, perhaps it made me relive some very unpleasant memories. It seems to have done that for a lot of Asian Americans, both male and female.
2 years, 11 months ago on Looking Into the Future: Amy Chua’s Parenting Style
I would also like to add that the model minority image is no different than Hollywood. Non-whites, hell Asians for that matter, are seduced by images of the Ivy League-educated, supposedly "successful" white-collar Asian professional making lots of money. Just like we see images of beauty, fame, and money in Hollywood.
But like Hollywood, the model minority has a very dangerous dark side. Like Hollywood, a growing number of Asians are suffering from depression, mental illnesses, and an increase in prescription drug popping.
2 years, 11 months ago on Jeff Yang: Controversial Amy Chua Parenting Book "Nothing Like What WSJ Suggests"
jeffat8asians Honestly, this is really the first time in my life that a friggin' article traumatized me. I dunno if something is wrong me, but I don't think I ever recalled an article really hitting me emotionally. And I'm a pretty thick-skinned individual and I have read some pretty heavy-hitting pieces emotionally.
Even if Amy Chua's article was taken out of context and the WSJ made the piece more inflammatory by making it race-baiting, it doesn't change what I have to say about Asians and the model minority.
With that said, I am certainly extremely angry with WSJ. After reading Chua's article, I suffered quite a bit of emotional distress. If I were less educated, I'd probably sue WSJ and Chua for infliction of emotional distress, but I'll take responsibility for that article affecting me negatively.
I think for a lot of Asians, regardless of the article's context or regardless of the WSJ making it more racially inflammatory, it still hit a raw nerve. The article made me feel like I was worthless, like I wasn't live up to the model minority Asian b/c I didn't go to an Ivy League university, not making six figures, etc.
While I certainly don't disagree with certain aspects of Chua's article, I think the one thing wrong with Asians and Asian Americans these days is their obsession with status. We gun for the Ivy League universities for the name and prestige, but we often time snub lesser known schools which could very well be a better fit and still provide a great education. We gun for the white-collar professional jobs thinking that it would earn us power and respect, but we sometimes sacrifice our true talents in pursuit in supposed "stability."
I counter that a happy worker is a productive worker and that would benefit society in the long-run. If all Asians were white-collar professionals, society would be unbalanced and contrary to what some elitist pundits think, it would hurt us down the road. Perhaps there are Asians out there w/ a knack for the arts, or hell, a talent for blue-collar work (e.g., car mechanic, chef, computer tech). Why are we denying an Asian's aptitude for something more suitable for them when we try to force them to become a doctor or Wall Street investment banker?
Danny_Ahmed Kinda off topic, but Amy Chua's article does hit a nerve b/c it perpetuates the model minority stereotype. Yes, I know that a lot of non-Asians would like to tell us to stop whining about this "positive" stereotype and that they are consistently impressed with our high academic performance, our Ivy League degrees, etc.
But this is why I have issues. I didn't go to an Ivy League (or a "top-tier" university). I went to a university barely in the Top 50. And people look at me funny b/c they think that I'm Asian and I'm supposed to be smart so why did I graduate from a "lowly" Top 50 university?
My hatred for people like Amy Chua (and I say this not to personally attack her, but more like I resent her way of thinking) and the model minority stereotype stems from my self-esteem issues. No matter what I do in life, even if I do pretty well for myself, I am constantly being compared to some high-achieving Chinese guy who went to an Ivy and is making six figures in whatever white collar professional field. I don't get to be myself, I am never comfortable in my own shoes. I constantly have self-doubts about myself b/c I am constantly reminded of images of the high achieving Asian and my constant sense of disappointment for failing to live up to that image.
I think a lot of non-Asians don't really understand or appreciate how damaging the model minority stereotype is and people like Amy Chua are not helping our cause.
What I'm going through is far too common for young Asian Americans. And while I'm lucky to have never fallen prey to drugs or significant clinical depression, I have seen too many of my friends go down the wrong path.
Danny_Ahmed I hear what you're saying and I agree that many of the bigoted comments are uncalled for.
However, let's be fair: it's become a really ugly pissing match between Asians and non-Asians. Some non-Asians accuse Asians of lacking creativity, etc. Asians accuse non-Asians of being lazy, inferior, etc.
I think Amy Chua has really opened a can of ugly worms and has incited a potentially ugly race war on the internet.
While I respect Ms. Chua's opinion and would even agree that there are certain values one could learn from Amy Chua, particularly the concepts of discipline and perseverance. I personally just hate that this is a racially charged article and that it has become one where she trumpets the supposed "superior" Chinese values over the "inferior" Western values. If it weren't for the race baiting, I probably wouldn't feel so strongly about it.
I've said that my parents were fortunately more reasonable than Ms. Chua's, or the supposed "typical" Chinese parent. Well, that was not w/o heartache. Freshman year, I was struggling academically. It got to the point where my parents were yelling at me and we got into many confrontations. We were yelling and screaming at each other, some of which was profanity-laced. It gotten to the point where somebody threatened to call the police. Fortunately, we all cooled down. To my parents' credit, it was an epiphany of sorts b/c they backed off the whole hardass Asian parent mentality, and though they did continue to push me, they also gave me enough space. Some may say that if my parents continued to go Ms. Chua's route, I could've gone the Ivy League route and be making six figures as a doctor, corporate lawyer, or Wall Street banker. I say that if all Asians were like that, it would be a pretty miserable world. In a way, I'm glad I deviated from the stereotypical Asian path and that my parents repsected me enough to find my own voice.
Then again, w/o all this race baiting and the whole controversy that Chinese are supposedly superior to Americans, Ms. Chua's article probably would be languishing somewhere in the dark corners of an obscure local paper.
I think the message I'm trying to get across is that Asians are like everybody else: we all have different talents, personalities, and aptitudes. Many of us are not suited to be doctors, or white collar professionals in general. Perhaps there are lots of Asians who would be happy to be a car mechanic, or a computer tech, or any blue-collar job. There's nothing wrong with that and Asian parents (and Asians for that matter) should not look down upon others who choose to take a less-prestigious route. I think that as long as you're making an honest living, contributing to society, and are happy with who you are, that's what matters. Of course I do emphasize the "honest living" and also a happy and healthy lifestyle.
I find this article to be blatantly offensive and stereotypical. The ethnocentric tone of Amy Chua is what bothers me. I think it's very offensive that Ms. Chua would allege that what she does is the Chinese way. Although yes, Chinese (and East Asian) parents can practice tough love at times, the vast majority do not go to great lengths that Ms. Chua does. It's one thing to stress academic excellence and pushing yourself to be the very best, it's another thing to deprive your child of water and going to the bathroom if she's struggling! Honestly, if Ms. Chua says that what she does is HER way of parenting only, and NOT the typical "superior" Chinese way of parenting, I probably wouldn't be writing this long diatribe.
With that said, being an Asian American (Chinese-Taiwanese) myself, I have seen many of my Asian peers who were raised by parents like Amy Chua. I guess I was fortunate that I had more reasonable parents, though they themselves sometimes ascribe to the supposed "Asian" way. The Asian peers I grew up w/ who were raised by Chua's alleged Asian method were pretty much (and pardon my language) complete a-holes and conceited d-bags. They may have earned top grades and went to the best universities, but they had very toxic attitudes and did not exactly endeared themselves socially. Plus, these Asians who were pushed by their parents through extreme measures to go to top schools and get top jobs were often times the ones who flamed out the earliest.
So sure, Amy Chua's methods may (not always, SOMETIMES) get the "best" results in that these students often times do well academically. But these Asians most certainly lack other qualities that make them valuable in society. if anything, these high achieving Asians do a great job of alienating everybody and often times have an extremely entitled attitude.
Perhaps by Ms. Chua's harsh Asian standards, I'm a failure as I do not live up to the stereotypically high-achieving Asian. I did not go to an Ivy League university, although I have attended a Top 50 university which admittedly is more well known for its athletics than academics. I am nowhere making six figures right now, though I do certainly enjoy my job, even w/ all the headaches and all b/c I feel like I am helping young people. And funny enough, some of the young people I deal w/ in my line of work have some of the issues Chua's children are facing...