Today, young Black men are more likely to be killed or sent to prison than to graduate from college. Yet, despite all the obstacles, some are achieving at the highest academic and professional levels.
Beating the Odds tells their remarkable stories and shows us what African American families have done to raise academically successful sons, sons who are among the top two percent of African American males in terms of SAT scores and grades. The result of extensive and innovative research, Beating the Odds goes beyond mere analysis--and beyond the relentlessly negative media images--to show us precisely how young Black men can succeed despite the roadblocks of racism, the temptations of crime and drugs, and a popular culture that values being "cool" over being educated. By interviewing parents and children from a range of economic and educational backgrounds and from both single and two-parent homes, the authors identify those constants that contribute to academic achievement and offer step-by-step guidance on six essential strategies for effective parenting: child-focused love; strong limit-setting and discipline; continually high expectations; open, consistent, and strong communication; positive racial identity and positive male identity; and full use of community resources. The proof of the effectiveness of such strategies is in the sons themselves, who speak eloquently in these pages about their struggles and successes in both the classroom and the often hostile world that surrounds it.
Essential reading for parents, teachers, and school administrators, Beating the Odds offers insight, guidance, and hope for anyone concerned about the plight of young African American men and the society they live in.
When Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Males appeared in 1998, it was hailed as "a crucial book" (Baltimore Sun) and "undoubtedly one of the most important tools the African American parent can possess" (Kweisi Mfume, President NAACP).
Now, in response to enormous demand, the authors turn their attention to African American young women. Statistics indicate that African American females, as a group, fare poorly in the United States. Many live in single-parent households-either as the single-parent mother or as the daughter. Many face severe economic hurdles. Yet despite these obstacles, some are performing at exceptional levels academically. Based on interviews with many of these successful young women and their families, Overcoming the Odds provides a wealth of information about how and why they have succeeded--what motivates them, how their backgrounds and family relationships have shaped them, even how it feels to be a high academic achiever. They also discuss the challenges of moving into African American womanhood, from maintaining self-esteem to making the right choices about their professional and personal lives. Most important, the book offers specific and inspiring examples of the practices, attitudes, and parenting strategies that have enabled these women to persevere and triumph.
For parents, educators, policy makers, and indeed all those concerned about the education of young African American women, Overcoming the Odds is an invaluable guidebook on creating the conditions that lead to academic-and lifelong-success.