Recently an an expatriate American living in China sent me a link to a piece published in the China Daily on June 3, 2011. The author was Amy Chua, who is known as the Tiger Mother.
What I read revealed (once more) that after decades of struggling to get rid of intolerance in America, that this ugly beast is very much alive in chat rooms, Internet Forums and Blogs.
As a noun, intolerance means an unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs. As an adjective, it means lacking respect for practices and beliefs other than one’s own.
Terrorism is an example of intolerance as is racism.
The ugly face of intolerance appeared soon after an essay was published in the January 8, 2011 Wall Street Journal of Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.
A few days later, Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was released and a firestorm of intolerance spewing hate, ignorance and opinions expressed as facts appeared as if a volcano had erupted.
Then Amy Chua’s July 3 piece, The real hymn of the tiger mother (mentioned in the first paragraph) appeared in the China Daily.
Chua wrote, “For a while, I was getting 500 emails a day. Some were vicious, but many others were extremely positive and inspiring.”
It has been reported that Amy Chua also received death threats.
The problem is that often what we read on Internet Forums and Blogs are opinions written as if they are the truth, which may influence a few that cannot see the difference to react violently since the Virtual World, without the filters used by the traditional media, quickly spreads hate and lies.
Lest we forget, this sort of intolerance where opinions are expressed as facts may have encouraged Jared Lee Loughner to shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona in the head, kill six (one of the dead was six years old) and wound thirteen.
“Ironically,” Chua wrote in the China Daily, “compared with many parents in China, I might not even be considered very strict. My husband is Jewish-American, and he always insisted that my daughters got a lot of fun and freedom.”
Interestingly,” Chua says, “when it comes to child rearing I think the East and the West have opposite problems. So perhaps what the Chinese can learn from my book is the opposite of what Westerners can.
“In general, I think Western parenting gives children too much freedom at too young an age. The average American child spends almost 70 percent more time watching television than attending school.”
Continued on July 4, 2011 in The Ugly Face of Intolerance – Part 2
To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.