Week in Review
The Washington Post published an article on 1/22/2013 noting the difference in graduation rates among racial groups. The graduation rates for Asians, whites and blacks were 93%, 83% and 66.1%, respectively. Census data (for 2010) shows the impact of this on median family income. The median family income for people with bachelor’s degrees, a high school diploma only and those who didn’t graduate high school was $90,530, $48,637 and $31,119, respectively. The median family income for Asians, whites and blacks was $75,027, $62,545 and $38,409, respectively. And the median family income for a family with a married couple, a male householder with no spouse and a female householder with no spouse was $71,627, $41,501 and $29,770, respectively. The census data also notes the number of out-of-wedlock births for Asians, whites and blacks as 11.3%, 29.2% and 67.8%, respectively (see High School Graduation Rates, Out-of-Wedlock Births and Median Family Income posted 7/25/2013 on PITHOCRATES for source data).
The people with the highest median family income also have the lowest out-of-wedlock births. Confirming that the path towards a high-paying job is a high school diploma. A college education. Being careful NOT to have any children until you’re married. And after you graduate from college and establish a career get married and raise a family.
According to the data people who follow this general path through life will do better than those who don’t. And it all starts with the family. The stronger the family the greater the success. The greater the number of out-of-wedlock births the lesser the success. Which is why very religious people do so well. Immigrants. And the immigrant communities they make for future American-born generations.
Immigrants have little but family when they arrive in a strange new world. And the extended family they find in their immigrant communities. As they become Americans they find comfort in their family and the culture and traditions of the world they left. As they work hard to fulfill their American dream. And because they work so hard, put family first and make sure their children do well in school they tend to do very well in life (see Tiger Mom’s New Book Stirs Up Culture Wars by Beth Greenfield posted 1/6/2014 on Yahoo! Shine).
But the reality, notes the book, co-written by Chua’s husband and fellow Yale professor Jed Rubenfeld, is that “uncomfortable as it may be to talk about,” some “religious, ethnic, and national-origin groups are starkly more successful than others.” Those groups, according to the authors, are Mormons, Cuban exiles, Nigerian Americans, Indian Americans, Chinese Americans, American Jews, Iranian Americans and Lebanese Americans. And the reasons they excel, the book declares, is because of a basic “triple package” formula: a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control.
A Publishers Weekly review calls the book a “comprehensive, lucid psychological study,” which balances its findings with the downsides of the “triple package.” And the authors address cultural stereotyping early on in the book, explaining, “Throughout this book, we will never make a statement about any group’s economic performance or predominant cultural attitudes unless it is backed up by solid evidence, whether empirical, historical, or sociological. But when there are differences between groups, we will come out and say so.” They add, “Group generalizations turn into invidious stereotypes when they’re false, hateful, or assumed to be true of every group member. No group and no culture is monolithic…”
Many on Twitter, meanwhile, have responded angrily to early coverage of the book.
Some choice phrases on Twitter: “racist,” “awful,” “racist psychopath,” “idiot,” “nonsense,” “race baiting clap trap” and, finally, from the political organization MOMocrats, “Amy Chua trolls us all for college tuition for child number two/book number two. YAWN.”
There may be something to the “triple package.” I don’t know about the superiority complex. But I’ll buy the insecurity and impulse control. As they do tie into hard work (as they may feel they have to work harder to equal their peers who are in a familiar world and know more about that world). And making short-term sacrifices for long-term goals. Such as saving your money to buy a house to raise your family in. And then sacrificing personal consumption to plan for the future. A college education for your kids. And retirement for Mom and Dad.
The reason these people do so well has less to do with genes than having the personal philosophy that made America great. Strong family. And conservative values and traditions. They’re not super races. They just embody the best of America.