Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Triple Package

Recently I read the book and co-produced a segment on the topic of "The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America" by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld. The book is currently getting a lot of slack -saying that it is describing a new racism. For those who haven't read the book, I'll give you a quick synopsis.

The book highlights several cultural groups including Nigerian-American, Indian-American, Asian-American (in research that lumps Chinese, Japanese, Iranian and sometimes Indian together because they are all from the same continent of Asia), Mormons, Jews and Cuban-American. Research shows that all of these immigrant cultures are exceeding in outstanding numbers in comparison to other cultural groups including white and black Americans. Amy and Jed say it's because each group possess three common traits that drive them to success - superiority complex, insecurity and impulse control then they later explain why the American culture no longer succeeds like they did pre-Revolutionary War.

Here's a quick break down of the three traits.
-Superiority Complex simply means the group possesses a strong sense of pride within itself. They feel that they are better, superior in their culture, upbringing and overall self.
-Ironically, insecurity within the groups simply means that they always feel that they aren't good enough, there is always something to work harder towards.
-Lastly, there's impulse control. These groups work harder and save harder. They set financial goals and stick to them until the right time.

I was fascinated with this book and topic because after looking and checking their research -I had to fact check of course- it was so true and furthermore I related 100% to these claims and traits. Notice, my cultural groups (Native American and Black American) weren't listed. The only times they were mentioned in the book was to explain how my cultures don't posses those traits because of hatred white Americans showed them decades ago. Because of slavery, discrimination and lack of good education in our neighborhoods, it's hard for us to grab a hold of these traits. All we have going for us is insecurity after years of constantly being told "you can't do this, you can't do that, you're not welcomed, you're nothing." It was disheartening but it was true. The only successful blacks are immigrants from Nigeria and the Caribbean islands. Where's the black American pride?

Then there was a section on how the successful and powerful black Americans hail from Historically Black Colleges and Universities such as my alma mater Hampton University and it made so much sense to me. Students at HBCU's thrive in these traits. We feel superior, we have insecurity and we have impulse control because of the high standards and goals we are taught to have for ourselves. Granted not all of us come from the suburbs but we all leave with what it takes to be successful.

Often I'm asked why I went to Hampton and I can't honestly remember why. But now I know it was to be successful. To thrive and become a 1% amongst the 99.

I encourage any and everyone to read this book. It's not racist, it's fact. Besides these cultural groups stay at the top for 2 generations and decline because then they develop the modern "American" way, where we work hard and play harder thus having no impulse control to put the beer down and save for a home or where we don't feel superior because everyone is a winner -you know, all kids get a trophy. And insecurity? What's that when you're from the free world?

Thanks Amy, Jed and Hampton.

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