The Race of Parenting with speaker Prof Natasha Warikoo

Wednesday 5 May 2021 (16:30-17:30)

Prof Kalwant Bhopal,

Natasha Warikoo
Natasha Warikoo

The Race of Parenting: Asian American and White Families in Pursuit or the American Dream in the Suburbs

Professor Natasha Warikoo from Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA

Asian American youth are outperforming all other race groups in the United States, including whites, on measures of academic achievement. What does this portend for the process of ethnic assimilation?

In this talk I will present findings from a study of a well-off suburban community with a large and growing Asian American population.  The study found that parents mobilize their resources to bolster their children’s achievements in both academics and extracurricular activities, with Asian parents tending to prioritize academics and white parents tending to prioritize extracurriculars, especially sports.

I will show how tensions over the ‘right’ way to parent develop when Asian American youth catapult ahead of their white peers. That is, rather than whites and Asians assimilating, either by Asians adopting dominant ‘white’ parenting practices or whites adopting the strategies of Asians, parents engaged in moral boundary making to defend their parenting, despite well-known stereotypes about Asian parents being too demanding and white children being outsmarted by their Asian American peers.

Ultimately, the study that both white and Asian families alike benefit from the class segregation that keeps working class and poor families out of their town altogether, through policies designed to maintain residential segregation.