[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Some facts about cultural "triple packages"



Amy Chua and her husband are both, like Obama, professors of
constitutional law, and this explains a lot: their individualism,
their idealism, and their anecdotal approach to psychological
research. Naturally, I agree with all of the criticisms made on those
fronts; nevertheless I find myself in perverse sympathy with the talk,
particularly the point she made about the non-cultural sources of
poverty which seem to have been ignored by people on the list, perhaps
because they come near the end of the talk.

"The Triple Package" is not a great book (as you can probably tell
from the "Seven Habits" style title). But it's still a book worth
putting in context. I don't think it is really a generalization of
Chua's book on parenting (which was actually very self-critical and
not at all self-congratulatory). I think it is a generalization of
Chua's last book, which was right in her own field, although like many
books which lie in the middle of one's field it did have a quite
personal trigger.

As they say in their talk: all nations are unequal, but some are more
unequal than others. The Philippines are one of those more unequal
nations: Chua's grandparents are Filipino Chinese, and the Chinese in
the Philippines are about one percent of the population and own some
forty or fifty percent of the country's capital. So Chua's grandmother
(or perhaps it was an aunt--I'm don't exactly remember) was horribly
murdered by her driver. Nobody was punished, and the reason was that
the police felt enormous sympathy for the driver's hatred of rich
Chinese and released him on a technicality.

At first, Chua was overcome with rage. But then she began to
generalize; she realized that her grandmother's murder was actually
part of a much wider pattern of constitutional change, where political
democracy is combined with extremes of economic oligarchy, and
consititutions make possible and even encourage demagogy and ethnic
scapegoating of what we might call the richer oppressed (e.g. Indians
in Uganda, Lebanese in Liberia, Tutsis in Rwanda, Croats in Serbia,
Chinese in Indonesia, Jews just about everywhere).

This is "culture" as a weapon in the hands of the powerful
poor--people like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Idi Amin, Slobadan Milosevic.
But it must have occurred to Chua while she was writing the book that
demagogy and scapegoating was only part of the story--I think this
book is actually an argument that culture can also be forged into a
weapon in the hands of the poor by precisely the family members who
seem most powerless--not her own grandmother, but grandmothers like
that of Sonja Sotomayor.

Idealism? Of course. Chua ignores the real reasons for the success
stories she tells, because they have nothing to do with these triple
package values (values which she admits are shared by almost all
ethnic groups). As Thomas Piketty points out in "Capital in the
Twenty-first Century", economics seen over the long run is...well,
it's a long arc, and it bends towards injustice. But precisely because
the injustice towards which it bends admits so very few to the very
rich, the very poor eventually play catch up, both iinternationally
(China) and intra-nationally, while the majority of the ruling ethnic
power are forced into the actual, not the nominal, middle class (i.e.
in the USA, people who live on earned income and not returns on
capital).

There were two exceptions to all of this playing catch-up, and they
happen to be the real "double package" on which American culture was
materially founded: genocide and slavery. That is why I feel that
treating the Native American and the black American experience as if
it were somehow comparable to other immigrant experiences is really a
form of Holocaust denial. The building where I live lodges mostly
foreigners, and there are many Americans. One of the professors is
black, American, and an incredibly successful and well known author in
business studies. Like Barack Obama, he has a name--it's an African
name, not the name of some slave-owning scoundrel; from the sound of
it I suspect he calls himself a "Nigerian-American" and not
"African-American". The other day I met his son in the elevator, and
when I heard his name I told him I recognized it, because it goes at
the top of every article his dad publishes. The kid was fairly
incandescent with pride.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies


On 17 September 2014 02:45, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com> wrote:
> I am not a psychologist, but is this what is passing off as empirical psychological research?  On another note, can we get some real psychologists to weigh in on the impact of spanking children on their psychological development.  This Adrian Peterson thing is getting racial really quickly.  By the way, my parents would be in prison today based on how I was spanked....
>
>
> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> President
> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> www.mocombeian.com
> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> www.paulcmocombe.info
>
> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: "Henry G. Shonerd III" <hshonerd@gmail.com> </div><div>Date:09/16/2014  1:12 PM  (GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Some facts about cultural "triple packages" </div><div>
> </div>I am struck by how inauthentic (phony?) Chua and her husband are, even more so than most TED talks. As I listened, I remembered the work by Ogbu on oppositional responses of "involuntary immigrants" (Blacks as slaves, Native Americans and Hispanics caught up in the movement of national borders). I have heard Ogbu has been criticized, but he convinced me.
> Henry
>
> On Sep 16, 2014, at 4:59 AM, Katherine Wester Neal <wester@uga.edu> wrote:
>
>> Thanks for sending, Greg. I also found it hard to keep watching. I have read Amy Chua's "tiger mom" book, and this TED talk seems to be a way to validate and extend the parenting ideas that she lays out in the book (which I find to be harsh and a bit mean-spirited). I have many issues with their claims, but I'll just mention two.
>>
>> First, I don't think their generalizations/facts are very useful. They perpetuate the idea, for example, that stereotypes are acceptable, especially if they're "true," which is probably where the comment that they're racist came from. It is also unhelpful to tell white, middle class parents one more time that "other" kids are going to outperform their kids and their kids are falling behind. This sort of scarcity rhetoric hurts kids and parents, in part because it sets up an us/them dichotomy.
>>
>> Second, as Greg said, there's no theory. I am suspect of facts, such as these, without theory because they don't account for how the facts were produced.
>>
>> Katie
>>
>> Katie Wester-Neal
>> Doctoral Candidate
>> University of Georgia
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sep 15, 2014, at 11:41 PM, "Greg Thompson" <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> Been enjoying the party, and apropos of David's call for some facts (which
>> I'm in full support of - despite being a theory-wonk), I thought I'd offer
>> this Ted talk that was sent to me by an LCHC colleague:
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHUMcxaqm9U
>>
>> Lots of facts in there, and not a little theory.
>>
>> They've got big claims about the facts of their program in inner-city
>> schools and about inequality too (you have to listen to the end to hear
>> about that).
>>
>> What do you think?
>>
>> Anything to it?
>>
>> Anyone have any facts to counter their facts?
>>
>> -greg
>>
>> p.s., I'm still listening to it right now. Not sure I'm going to be able
>> to stomach the entire talk... getting a little queasy. Feeling like someone
>> is selling me something that is going to cost me a ton and I'm not going to
>> like. Ugh...
>>
>>
>> --
>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor
>> Department of Anthropology
>> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> Brigham Young University
>> Provo, UT 84602
>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>>
>
>
>