Streams

“American Promise,” a Documentary

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Directors Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson discuss their documentary, “American Promise,” which spans 13 formative years in the lives of two young black boys, their son Idris and his best friend Seun, as they navigate an elite New York City prep school. The environment is still largely segregated by race, class and culture. It follows both boys as they face challenges at school and the pressures of growing up. “American Promise” opens at the IFC Center and at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on October 18.

Joe Brewster and/or Michele Stephenson will be appearing in person and answering questions at the following screenings at IFC:
Friday, 10/18, at 7:00
Saturday, 10/19, at 1:10, 4:05, 7:00
Sunday, 10/20, at 1:10, 4:05, 7:00

Joe Brewster and/or Michele Stephenson will be appearing in person and answering questions at the following screenings at Film Society of Lincoln Center:
Friday, 10/18, at 8:00
Saturday, 10/19, at 2:00, 5:00, 8:00
Sunday, 10/20, at 2:00, 5:00, 8:00

 

 

Guests:

Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson

Comments [9]

Sas

Will a Black male growing up in a White world encounter difficulties? Certainly. Will he have to deal with "incipient racism"? Probably. But this film demonstrates none of that. The elephant in the room, that everyone ignores, is the fact that Idris has an August birthday, making him by far the youngest child in his class. All the problems described in the film (even his problems with the White girls in his class) can easily be attributed to his relative youth and his relative physical and emotional immaturity.

Oct. 20 2013 10:00 PM
Norman from Bronx, NY

Will a Black male child encounter difficulties growing up in a White world? Certainly. Will he encounter "incipient racism"? Probably. But this film does not clearly demonstrate any of that. However the elephant in the room, that is never addressed, is the fact that Idris has an August birthday making him by far, the youngest child in his class. All of the problems he had to deal with (even his problems with the White girls in his class) could easily be attributed to his relative youth, and his relative physical, and emotional immaturity.

Oct. 20 2013 09:47 PM

Am I the only one hearing breathy pretensions??

Oct. 17 2013 01:05 PM
fuva from harlemworld

I'm a graduate of The Dalton School, if you can believe that. Was there from 7th-12th grade...Wonderful experience. Yes, lots of racial misunderstanding. Duh. But it was mitigated by mutually-respectful, cross-racial relationships FOSTERED BY my vocal black-affirmation...See, I rolled with a tiny group of open-minded, non-assimilating black students. And it was the latter attribute that was key. We sought to actually LEVERAGE the priceless diversity opportunity, rather than attempt to assimilate, which we frankly regarded as counterproductive and immoral...In fairness, maybe this was easier because we had each other for support...I've observed that it's often the assimilationist approach, perhaps embodied by the filmmakers, that gets it twisted and fails...I'm interested in what the film says about this and will definitely be seeing it.

Oct. 17 2013 12:59 PM
Tara from NYC

I appreciate this film and I know that in many situations what these parents are reporting is spot on. However, I also want to state that one needs to be careful when "jumping" to a "this must be racism" conclusion. I completely understand the concerns that these parents present and the consideration that certain actions and statements could be race connected. That's a valid fear. But it is also important to consider that they may not be race based. Class and geographic location is often overlooked as a likely explanation for the same issues that these parents have presented.

Oct. 17 2013 12:56 PM
Tim from Montclair

Old News!
I went to private school (Rhodes Prep) in the mid 1970's and then to Stuyvesant H.S. Commuting from St. Albans Queens the whole time.

As I black male, yes there were stereo types, being ignored socially by the white student body -unless you were cool.

The decision to participate in these schools also requires the particpation of parent both in the classroom and with the administration. Just like local PTAs in public schools.

Oct. 17 2013 12:52 PM
Tim from Montclair

Old News!
I went to private school (Rhodes Prep) in the mid 1970's and then to Stuyvesant H.S. Commuting from St. Albans Queens the whole time.

As I black male, yes there were stereo types, being ignored socially by the white student body -unless you were cool.

The decision to participate in these schools also requires the particpation of parent both in the classroom and with the administration. Just like local PTAs in public schools.

Oct. 17 2013 12:52 PM
Lori from manhattan

I don't understand how a teacher telling them that their child needed extra help is racist? I have a white child w/dyslexia in a private school and I WISH they had told me that! Why is that wrong?

Oct. 17 2013 12:46 PM
Meredith from Brooklyn

Great film. I attended the Brooklyn Screening of the documentary at BAM’s Rose Cinemas. Must see for every parent,educator and student.

Oct. 16 2013 07:19 PM

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