Late, Messy Reaction to this Amy Chua Stuff [Rice Daddies]
In this essay, I was going to be careful to point out that my feelings and opinions were not an attack on Ms. Chua, as she has the right to write about whatever she wants. As I have the right not to read her book, a right I fully intend to exercise.
I was going to be careful to say that my critiques had more to do with representation, rather than a debate on parenting. Ms. Chua’s reality is her reality – this is not an attack on her authenticity. I am more interested in the reaction, from Asians and non-Asians alike. There seems to be an acceptance that there is some true essential “Chinese” (and “Asian”) way to raise your kids and some “Western” way, and by “Western” it seems the author means straight upper middle class white male, and no one seems to be talking about the problematics of such assumptions. That no one is talking about how these assumptions play into very specific consumptions of Asian Americans – culture without politics, as if we live in a vacuum devoid of things like race, class, gender, sexuality. At this point in my essay, I’d take my partner’s advice and say that the idea that there is an essential, Western (male) and Eastern (female) way to raise children, and the idea that the melding of the individualist male West and the feminine East as some sort of liberating, uplifting redemption narrative is a colonialist social construct straight out of Said’s book Orientalism…
Aw man, I really don’t want to write this.Can our parents be our allies? [John Raible Online]
I figured out that it is way easier to be an ally now that my sons are grown and living on their own. While my sons lived with me, I often found myself in power struggles with them. Especially once they entered the teen years. In my role as their dad, I was frequently trying to get them to do things they didn’t really want to do (like clean their room, get up for school on time, stay sober, do their homework and help around the house, and just generally be more “responsible”). I was more interested in asserting my authority over them as their parent. I was impatient for them to be more like adults—yet I wasn’t sharing power with them so that they COULD act like adults. Rather than behave as their ally, I used my adult power over them, because I still saw them as kids.
Naturally, my sons rebelled, in different ways. The more they rebelled, the more I dug in my heels. Mostly out of desperation to stay in control as the parent figure. Of course, this led to many arguments. Our ongoing conflicts exacerbated what the professionals talk about as “acting out” behaviors. Looking back on the teen years, I can see that my desire to control everything in our household disrespected my sons’ needs and desires as young men. In hindsight, I can see that I was not practicing ally behavior.
Reasons for Suicide Amplified for Native Americans [Billings Gazette]
“The unfortunate and often forgotten reality is that there is an epidemic of violence and harm directed toward this very vulnerable population,” Dolores Subia BigFoot, director of the Indian Country Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma, testified a before the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs during hearings on the Indian Youth Suicide Prevention Act of 2009.
“American Indian/Alaska Native children and youth experience an increase risk of multiple victimizations,” she said. “Their capacity to function and to regroup before the next emotional or physical assault diminished with each missed opportunity to intervene. These youth often make the decision to take their own lives because they feel a lack of safety in their environment. Our youth are in desperate need of safe homes, safe families and safe communities.”