It's ethnicity, not nationality, that makes Amy Chua controversial

Friday, February 25, 2011; 7:11 PM

On Feb. 21, The Post published an article by Monica Hesse about author and law professor Amy Chua's recent reading at Politics and Prose bookstore ["The paper 'Tiger,' " Style].

Hesse wrote: "If 'Tiger Mom' had been written by a woman of a different nationality ('Why French Women's Kids Don't Get Fat'), it might not have raised so many hackles."

In fact, Amy Chua's nationality is American. Specifically, she is a second-generation Chinese American born in Illinois.

Many people use the word "nationality" when they really mean "race" or "ethnicity," but that doesn't excuse this error. This is a distinction that matters, because confusing it only furthers the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype, which contributes to the under-representation of Asian Americans in the media, government and the economy.

Suggesting that Asian Americans are foreigners is to suggest that we are less American - even though ours is a nation of immigrants.

Sylvia Chi, Washington

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