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Tiger Mom: Some cultural groups are superior

(75 Posts)
OsmiumPhazer Mon 06-Jan-14 21:50:15

I was talking to a Nigerian colleague today who agreed with many of the hypothesis put forward by the ‘controversial’ Amy Chua. I am certain many of you read Amy’s Book ‘Battle cry of a tiger mother’ and were either shocked or inspired by her childrearing methods.
According to Amy In 2013, though making up less than 1 percent of America’s black population, Nigerian Americans—many from modest backgrounds—made up 20 to 25 percent of the black students at Harvard Business School and are starkly overrepresented in America’s top investment banks and law firms. Is there any truth in what she says, even though I am certain many of you do not know any Mormons apart from the Osmond’ and Miit Romney.

MoreBeta Mon 06-Jan-14 21:52:02

What is a Nigerian American exactly?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 06-Jan-14 22:23:30

Eh? One minute you're talking about Nigerian Americans, the next Mormons.

Kenlee Mon 06-Jan-14 23:59:52

iI would say a child born in America with Nigerian parents....Who gets the best of America and Nigerian values....

I can not be sure what you are trying to get at OP because I think its more about parenting rather than ethnicity along with the childs inate IQ..

I met a Mormon once he felt I was confused...

rabbitstew Tue 07-Jan-14 10:21:05

I don't see the link between superiority and being over-represented at Harvard Business School, law firms and investment banks. I can see the link to status and wealth, but don't think chasing status and wealth equals superiority, just a particular mindset.

MrsSteptoe Tue 07-Jan-14 10:29:23

Agree with rabbitstew. I work in a very, very successful organisation that would be considered the pinnacle of aspiration for those wanting to go into the City (in a very, very lowly capacity) and after many years of observing the latest intake of Harvard or Oxbridge entrants, I can confidently say that they aren't really brighter. They just come from families where that type of ambition is drilled into them. I don't personally regard that as "superior", though nor do I regard it as inferior - it just is.

Gunznroses Tue 07-Jan-14 10:55:18

Nigerian Americans over-represented at HBS, law firms and investment banks...really????? care to share your evidence?, i'd be really interested in studying it.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 07-Jan-14 10:59:02

Nigeria is the group she names, but apparently the statistics relate to people of West African origin generally. Presumably Nigeria was just the country Amy Wotsit had heard of, so she bunged that in.

Nigerians as models of impulse control? Can you hear that noise? It's the sound of the whole of Ghana laughing.

MrsSteptoe Tue 07-Jan-14 11:08:27

grin angeladavieshair

LauraBridges Tue 07-Jan-14 11:14:07

I've worked occasionally in Lagos. I was with a group of female Nigerian lawyers, all mothers and one was about to send her child to an English boarding school - I think they were Yoruba. It is a great country for growth at the moment with a growing middle class but it has lot of terrorism too and many poorer people.

I thought the US had a weird system of preference for anyone with one sixteenth of non white genes which gets you university places not just on merit but colour and is arguably racist. Surely that would account for some of the statistics suggested.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 07-Jan-14 11:20:15

I thought the US had a weird system of preference for anyone with one sixteenth of non white genes which gets you university places not just on merit but colour and is arguably racist. Surely that would account for some of the statistics suggested

Look, there are 'black' universities mainly but not exclusively for African- American students, all started when all other universities refused to admit black students. There are scholarship and initiatives like the National Negro Colege fund (I think it is called) aimed at black students, all designed to address and correct the crushing inequality and prejudice that they face. That is hardly racist or unfair.

It is also of no real relevance to what the book in the OP is talking about. Which is that people of West African origin born outside the US, or their children born in the US, do dramatically better in education and work than people from the historic African-American population, i.e. the descendants of the slaves.

But really, black people only doing well in American colleges because the system is tipped in their favour? No, hardly.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 07-Jan-14 11:20:39

Please excuse typos.

Gunznroses Tue 07-Jan-14 11:33:01

I've never read this book, nor do i believe the statement about Nigerian Americans being overrepresented at HBS etc but LauraBridges states she has worked in Lagos alongside a number of female nigerian lawyers, and the emerging middle-class one whom was sending her dc to a british boarding school, then finishes off with African students getting into university not on merit but on colour because
Surely that would account for some of the statistics suggested

yes of course because it couldn't possibly be just for their brains!

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Tue 07-Jan-14 11:35:47

Actually Laura, the greatest winner of affirmative action in America is White women and the number of race based scholarships are very very tiny mostly started by groups when joining mainstream White education was legally barred rather than just socially (as Angela said). People are far more likely to get a leg up by being the child of alumni than by race. Please stop spreading these racist rumours, it causes a lot of hard working people a lot of pain and abuse from people thinking they only got in due to their race and doubting their general abilities.

And it would not account for why children of African immigrants do better than children of African Americans. There is a difference in how both groups are treated in the States for a wide variety of reasons, not all having to do with culture or values. The idea of one being superior to the others is a bit gross though and ignores a lot of social issues.

mercibucket Tue 07-Jan-14 11:41:48

what do you mean by 'superior'?

NeoFaust Tue 07-Jan-14 11:48:20

Countries like America have very stringent immigration laws. This means that only the top performing percentile of immigrants from developing nations will be permitted into the country. Families with a high work ethic and maximum appreciation for education will always be heavily represented among the top achievers of any nation, so immigrants are likely to appear among this cohort.

Nothing to do with superior culture, everything to do with selective immigration policies.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 07-Jan-14 12:12:44

Amy Wotsit also appears not to recognise the fact that 'Nigerians' and 'African-Americans' are closely related racially, historically and culturally.

And that comparing what is likely to be a group of relatively privileged, well-educated and highly motivated West African immigrants with all African-Americans of whatever class and education is not very bright.

Such immigrants (and there are a lot of my relatives in that category) do not tend to face the same levels of prejudice from non-black Americans nor the same obstacles to accessing higher education in America as, say, an African-American from a very poor and disadvantaged background. To the point where there can be some resentment from the latter towards the former, as my cousin found to her cost at school and college.

Kenlee Tue 07-Jan-14 12:17:48

I want to know why is that Chinese are successful but we don't get positive discrimination...

I also want to add does it really make a difference what ethnicity you are..?

LauraBridges Tue 07-Jan-14 13:02:39

As I say I met a lot of Nigerian professional women keen for their children to do well. My comment about Harvard and affirmative action was just to highlight the difference with the UK were we do not have the same programmes. They are very controversial in the US. Teenagers will root around all their family history to find that magic 16th which is non WASP which might help them in. There are arguments and debates about the programme all the time in the US and even books written on it. The US has a very different type of race relations to the UK because of its different past and it may well need these affirmative actions where the US does not but let us not deny the programmes do not exist. They do.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 07-Jan-14 13:40:11

Kenlee Exactly. What we are encountering here is the incomprehension that other countries have elites who have better resources, connections and networking skills than the rest of their society, ethnicity is irrelevant, though sometimes they are also an ethnic elite. I could ask why Nigerians are also over represented in perpetrating certain types of fraud, certainly against the organisation I worked for, but I am sure we recognise that other countries have their criminals, with particular cultural values, resources and connections too. The same certainly goes for China.

Tiger mothers can also certainly come from every ethnicity, including WASP, with similar risks and benefits to their offspring. Some cultures may predispose parents to become tiger mothers as does the fact that someone has made that leap to become an immigrant in search of greater opportunity. However not all Chinese or Nigerian or immigrant mothers are tiger mothers, and even if they are there are degrees, and extrapolating the success of the children of an elite / culture /ethnicity to demonstrate anything about the benefits of what I gather was pretty extreme tiger mothering is to say the least spurious even if, like all good stereotypes, it sells books.

MoreBeta Tue 07-Jan-14 17:43:24

I think the OP may be mistaking ethnicity for wealth and middle class immigrant aspiration.

Nigerian immigrants to the USA tend to be quite wealthy and well educated themselves and hence tend to want that for their children and can afford to pay for it. There are lots of Nigerian children in UK boarding schools and at UK universities for the same reason. Other nationalities are also represented too and for similar reasons.

It is not about being 'Nigerian' it is about wealth and having an aspiration for your children.

Nibs777 Tue 07-Jan-14 18:47:04

As for tiger moms and Asian Americans there is still a lot of conscious and unconscious bias in the US (and I believe that is mirrored by stereotypes often believed here in Western Europe - where are the Chinese CEOs, MPs, and senior judges?). I do think there is an unconscious bias in many non-Chinese Western people to think ..."well he/she would be good at piano/maths/chess because they are Chinese and that is all they focus on from an early age". An stereo type reinforced by Amy Chua.

There was a very interesting article in New York magazine written by Asian Americans from their perspective (eg Koreans, Chinese Americans) on this and reference to Amy Chua and also the bamboo ceiling. Not all Chinese americans are seen as piano playing chess and maths geniuses...there's a prejudice against the poorer Chinese immigrants in the Chinatown areas on the basis that they are an underclass in some people's eyes.

link to whole article:

"Here is what I sometimes suspect my face signifies to other Americans: an invisible person, barely distinguishable from a mass of faces that resemble it. A conspicuous person standing apart from the crowd and yet devoid of any individuality. An icon of so much that the culture pretends to honor but that it in fact patronizes and exploits. Not just people “who are good at math” and play the violin, but a mass of stifled, repressed, abused, conformist quasi-robots who simply do not matter, socially or culturally.

I’ve always been of two minds about this sequence of stereotypes. On the one hand, it offends me greatly that anyone would think to apply them to me, or to anyone else, simply on the basis of facial characteristics. On the other hand, it also seems to me that there are a lot of Asian people to whom they apply."

Another extract:

"The researcher was talking about what some refer to as the “Bamboo Ceiling”—an invisible barrier that maintains a pyramidal racial structure throughout corporate America, with lots of Asians at junior levels, quite a few in middle management, and virtually none in the higher reaches of leadership.

The failure of Asian-Americans to become leaders in the white-collar workplace does not qualify as one of the burning social issues of our time. But it is a part of the bitter undercurrent of Asian-American life that so many Asian graduates of elite universities find that meritocracy as they have understood it comes to an abrupt end after graduation. If between 15 and 20 percent of every Ivy League class is Asian, and if the Ivy Leagues are incubators for the country’s leaders, it would stand to reason that Asians would make up some corresponding portion of the leadership class.

And yet the numbers tell a different story. According to a recent study, Asian-­Americans represent roughly 5 percent of the population but only 0.3 percent of corporate officers, less than 1 percent of corporate board members, and around 2 percent of college presidents. There are nine Asian-American CEOs in the Fortune 500. In specific fields where Asian-Americans are heavily represented, there is a similar asymmetry. A third of all software engineers in Silicon Valley are Asian, and yet they make up only 6 percent of board members and about 10 percent of corporate officers of the Bay Area’s 25 largest companies. At the National Institutes of Health, where 21.5 percent of tenure-track scientists are Asians, only 4.7 percent of the lab or branch directors are, according to a study conducted in 2005"

Nibs777 Tue 07-Jan-14 19:19:48

Hollywood reinforces the stereotype also, in a way that would not be politically correct at all for other racial groups in modern day America - in The Internship for example, a comedy where you have interns competing for a job at have Yo-Yo, an Asian-American boy who was homeschooled by a stereotypical overbearing Asian mother...timid, constantly on the phone reassuring her he is working hard, and when stressed pulling his eyebrows out so he has none, and at one point when a punch is thrown at him in a bar fight, responding mockingly, "my mother hits harder than you.."

antimatter Tue 07-Jan-14 19:27:08

I dare say - a lot (if not all) of professional women from every background/ethnicity are keen for their children to do well grin

OsmiumPhazer Tue 07-Jan-14 21:19:27

It was Aamy Chua who wrote this book not me

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