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Controversial ‘Tiger Mom’ lists superior cultural groups in new book

Amy Chua has a new book titled “The Triple Package.”

Christopher Capozziello/The Globe and Mail

Amy Chua, the infamous "Tiger Mom," has clawed her way back into the limelight with a shocking stance on race.

In her latest book, released two years after her strident Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Chua argues that American Jews, Indians, Chinese, Iranians, Lebanese, Nigerians, Cuban exiles and Mormons are superior to other cultural groups while, as reviewer Maureen Callahan put it, "everyone else is contributing to the downfall of America."

According to Chua's distorted lens, these chosen few have three special qualities that set them apart. They are endowed with "The Triple Package," a catchphrase that serves as the title of her new book, co-authored with fellow Yale alumnus and husband Jed Rubenfeld.

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Here are the exceptional qualities that supposedly put the Super 8 at the top:

1. A Superiority Complex. Groups such as Mormons and Jews have the edge because they are convinced they are inherently better than others, Chua and Rubenfeld suggest. (Somehow the authors fail to mention all the Jews put to death during the Nazi obsession with creating a "supreme race.")

2. Insecurity. According to Chua and Rubenfeld, it's the tension between insecurity and feelings of superiority that drives high achievers to the top. But as Callahan noted, they are also classic traits of narcissism.

3. Impulse Control. Certain cultural groups are better at resisting temptation, "especially the temptation to give up in the face of hardship," the authors write. By their logic, Indians never get fat from eating too many samosas and Cuban exiles never quit high school.

Racial stereotyping aside, The Triple Package doesn't hold up to scrutiny, since the authors' case for cultural superiority is largely based on "dubious statistics and anecdotal evidence," Callahan pointed out.

Even so, the book's shock value and inevitable media attention (including, ahem, this blog post) should give Chua a heady dose of narcissistic supply.

And when that runs out, she will no doubt come roaring back for more.

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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