PROMISES KEPT by Joe Brewster


Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life
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With the assistance of Beard (Health First!: The Black Woman's Wellness Guide, 2012, etc.), independent filmmakers Brewster and Stephenson examine concrete ways black parents can enhance their sons’ potential for success in a world prejudiced against black males.

Seeking to give their son, Idris, the education that would help the youngster “bypass racism and achieve his human potential,” Brewster and his wife, Stephenson, enrolled him at the prestigious Dalton School in Manhattan. It quickly became evident that however progressive Dalton proclaimed to be, the school was as elitist as it was racially biased. Written as a response to the “struggles, tears and frustration” their son faced, this book is also a companion to American Promise, an acclaimed 2013 documentary Brewster and his wife made about Idris’ Dalton experiences, as well as those of his fellow students of color. The authors offer a plethora of information and advice geared toward the specific developmental needs of black boys. For Brewster and Stephenson, preparation begins before birth and includes everything from taking parenting classes to eating only the most nutritious foods. Once the child is born, the parents must work to establish secure emotional attachments with their son and develop his higher brain functions through consistent and conscientious verbal engagement. Once the child is older, they must not only protect him from the traps of excessive media consumption and drugs; they must also warn him about “overreactive teachers, principals and police officers” by having honest conversations about race and racial injustice. Their involvement should also extend into schools and classrooms, where low expectations for black males breed failure. Thorough and detailed, this guidebook is also a call to action. As Brewster sees it, when people of color remain complacent, they not only break a tacit promise to future generations to achieve social equity, they also imperil the futures of both the nation and the planet.

A practical and impassioned parenting guide.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8129-8489-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2014


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