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Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life Paperback – January 14, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812984897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812984897
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fascinated with the idea of documenting the experience of minority students, including their own young son, at an exclusive private school, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson began a film project. After a few years, they stopped when their son began to feel socially isolated and singled out for concerns about underperformance. Next, they embarked on an exploration of why their son and so many other black boys struggled in school. The result is a penetrating look at the standard practices, at school and at home, that contribute to the achievement gap between the races and the sexes that seems to put black boys at a disadvantage. They debunk myths and offer 10 parenting and education strategies to improve the prospects for black boys to help them overcome racial stereotypes and low expectations, from preconception and prenatal health care through preschool, from grades K–12 through life skills, including the Trayvon Martin lesson. This is a practical and insightful look at the particular challenges of raising black males. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“The authors offer a plethora of information and advice geared toward the specific developmental needs of black boys. . . . 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.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“A penetrating look at the standard practices, at school and at home, that contribute to the achievement gap between the races and the sexes that seems to put black boys at a disadvantage. [Brewster and Stephenson] debunk myths and offer ten parenting and education strategies to improve the prospects for black boys to help them overcome racial stereotypes and low expectations. . . . This is a practical and insightful look at the particular challenges of raising black males.”Booklist

Customer Reviews

This book was filled with good information, tips for parents and so much more.
M. Brown
This is a great, focused parenting guide for raising black boys, but also a invaluable education for everyone.
Bryan Newman
I would even suggest it be required reading in high school and college classrooms.
Sunday Kazas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly R. Norton TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Length: 0:39 Mins
Please do not let the sub title of this book mislead you. This book is helpful to parents of other races and also helpful in raising girls. The emphases of this book is on young black boys but the subject matter is universal. Think of this book like a street named Martin Luther King, any person can drive on the street but the name emphasizes black leadership.

Here is the background behind the book. A black family (actually two different families) enroll their son into a predominately white private school. The child enters via a scholarship that the school provides to help diversify the school. The parents are so excited that they decide to video tape the kid's experiences throughout his years at the school. The parents have about 13 years of video showing the trials and tribulations that their son, Idris, goes through. Idris's mother is a lawyer and his father is a psychiatrist, both of Idris' parents went to well known colleges.

This book will provide parents with tools they can use to support their children in emotional and educational ways. An example of what you might see in the book is something like this, *a large percentage of black babies arrive preterm meaning they arrive before the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs are optimally developed*. Then the authors go on to explain what can be done to decrease the chances of having a preterm baby.

✔The chapters in this book are as follows:
Introduction
1. Close the Gap Before it Opens
2. Build Your Son's Brain
3. Be His First Teacher
4. Put His Armor On
5. Hug Him and Tell him you Love him
6. You Brought him into this world, don't let other folks take him out.
7. Protect him from time bandits
8. Education to match his needs
9.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lia Christians on January 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic! As a mother of young, black men, I struggle at times to find the right tools to help my sons. Some tools I have, but this book has given me so many more to use. I love how the authors will use different points of view to dissect a subject and help you through the conversations they generate. Thank you for such a beautiful , thorough understanding of my children.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Mack VINE VOICE on May 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although I am not African-American, I got this book to learn more about what other families are going through. I wanted to be more aware of the situation and the hardships, and find out how I can possibly be a positive contributor to this, specifically with our friends and in a larger way by being informed and raising my kids to be sensitive to others in life. Dr. Brewster did an amazing job of explaining the problems and defining proactive ways for improvement. I'm really glad I read it and highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andre Lawrence TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
PROMISES KEPT is the publication that accompanies the PBS show and documentary, "America's Promise."

This book, like the documentary, was produced by the families of Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson and several families from the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York.

The project PROMISE is an almost 10-year video documentary of the life of middle class African Americans (some may some argue that the designation should be amended to include "upper")-- and this point is not a benign one.

Racism, whether explicit or "soft," can be expressed in a only a few ways when considering that racism has become so entrenched that the authors wanted to see how racism would demonstrate itself on another generation of African Americans, namely young men.

The subtitle, "Raising Black Boys To Succeed In School and In Life," is a subject that has been broached many, many times in the past. "What can we do about young black men and unemployment? What can we do about young black men and crime? What can we do about young black men and ..."

The truth is, there is a problem. But, thoroughly diagnosing the what's the causes and how to deal with the environment(s) and the embedded psychology is beyond the scope of any one book or documentary.

***

The project was originally scheduled to follow several children from grade school through their high school years, but several families quit mid-way through.

It's important-- I should say-- that behind the observations and suggestions that belie this project, both book and film, is the producer's middle class upbringing, academic background and social standing.

Admittedly, the inherent expectations are high. And, this I suggest is one of the keys.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Peters VINE VOICE on June 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It took me a while to pick up this book knowing that it would be talking about the failure of our current society to treat boys of color as the valuable human beings they are.
While my two sons are in their late twenties, these years since their birth have been frightful at times.
The book brings back many of the concerns I had as a mom of two brown skin boys growing up in upper middle class neighborhoods in South Florida.
As I look at our two grandsons, the concerns are no less.
As the writer commented, society still has a hard time looking at brown-skinned boys as children. They are so often and early seen as threats by teachers, and others who are supposed to be a help and resource to them in growing up.

While the book has many good pointers and good insights, I fear it will only be read by those who are educated and parents of boys of color.
It also reminds me of another poignant book I read 20 years ago whose title still sticks in my mind because it alone said volumes..."The War Against Boys."
That is what boys of color deal with everyday--a war against them from many fronts. No wonder so many of them wind up in jail or prison. Unfortunately, my family (even with all of its education and modest income) did not escape this outcome.
Being disliked or hated just because you are brown skinned and male is a heavy burden to bear.
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