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I’m a second generation Asian-American with young kids, and I think this issue is at least to some degree cultural. I was raised by classic tiger parents, and definitely do not want to raise my kids in the same way. But it’s hard to try to raise your kids with a cooperative progressive worldview when most of their friends and classmates are being raised with a zero sum game, “win at all costs,” work and study all the time mentality. I think among the fellow second generation Asian-Americans I know, I see a big divide between those of us who are uncomfortable with Tiger parenting and those who have embraced it, with the former often also fleeing to charter schools, private schools, or other geographic areas.

If we’re being honest, the cultural values of Tiger parenting are largely antithetical to liberal or progressive values. Many immigrants I know are openly racist (gotcha moments when they run into the African-American who happens to speak Chinese or Korean), they don’t believe in helping others outside of their family, and they emphasize academic achievement over social or emotional intelligence (i.e., there are parents I’ve dealt with who don’t seem to care that their kids are raging assholes with violent emotional outbursts, as long as they are reading or multiplying ahead of everyone else).

And yes, I’m aware that “Asian” describes a broad swath of people, but in most of the upscale suburbs that have nice schools (Cupertino being one example), it’s not the Hmong that are primarily coming in. It’s Chinese, Koreans, and others who want to emulate these hard-driving families (including many white, black, and Latino families who take “Tiger Parenting” to be a license to be full-on assholes).

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