Jewish parents, Hoopes, Eastman, Pinsker

Tue, 22 Nov 1994 07:50:38 -0400

Jerry Barkow here.

I think Hoopes is rather oversimplfying by arguing that some
Askenazi Jewish parenting strategies are typical of first generation
(North) Americans. Ethnic differences in economic achievement
are a fact of life and they can be explained in a whole bunch
of ways. Here is one.

All cultures provide ways to achieve (culturally-defined) success,
prestige, renown. Let's call these "strategies." In rapidly changed
circumstances, perhaps due to emigration, colonial conquest, etc.,
many groups find that the old strategies don't work well anymore.
These groups have to change both strategies and tactics. Other
groups are more fortunate and only have to change tactics. Eastern
European changes in North America had to change tactics, not general
strategies. Cal Eastman explains some of the history behind the
cultural prestige/success strategies his family (and Pinsker's and
mine) brought with them.

The old need-for-achievement literature reifed entrepreneurial-type
prestige/success strategies into a psychological "need" and so missed
the point even while getting intriguing data.

References and even a couple of case studies on request, though
I warn you that they will mostly be to my own past stuff.

Jerry Barkow