Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life
Publication Date: January 2014
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An unprecedented guide to helping black boys achieve success at every stage of their lives—at home, at school, and in the world
Black boys face a daunting array of challenges—and the surprising fact is that those challenges appear regardless of how wealthy or poor their parents are. All black boys must confront and surmount the “achievement gap”: a divide that shows up in our sons’ test scores, but also in their social and emotional development, their physical well-being, and their outlook on life. As children, our sons score as high on cognitive tests as their peers, but at some point in their young lives, the gap emerges. Why?
This is the question Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson sought to answer when their own son, Idris, began struggling in a new school. As they filmed their son’s experiences for their award-winning documentary American Promise, they also set out to discover the reasons for Idris’s struggles, struggles he shared with black boys everywhere. Their investigation led them to meet an array of researchers who had not only identified the reasons for the gap, but had come up with practical, innovative solutions to close it. In Promises Kept, they explain
• How to influence your son’s brain before he’s even born
• How to create a home environment that’s structured, supportive, and stimulating
• How to tell the difference between authoritarian and authoritative discipline—and why it matters
• How to create an educational program for your son that matches his needs
• How to prepare him for explicit and implicit racism in school and in the wider world
• How to help your child develop resilience, self-discipline, emotional intelligence, and a positive outlook that will last a lifetime
Filled with innovative research, practical strategies, and the voices of parents and children who are grappling with these issues first-hand, Promises Kept is a groundbreaking, critically important guide for every parent and caregiver of black boys. It will challenge your assumptions, give desperately needed advice, and inspire you to do all that you can to make sure your child isn’t lost in the gap.
Joe Brewster, M.D., and Michele Stephenson are the directors of the award-winning documentary American Promise. Brewster is an attending psychiatrist at Harlem Hospital in New York and an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University. He was raised in Los Angeles and studied medicine at Harvard University. Stephenson has worked as an international human rights lawyer and a film producer. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School.
Hilary Beard is the co-author of several books, including the New York Times bestsellers 21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox and Venus & Serena: Serving from the Hip.