Author, Ameshia G. Arthur, wrote a book entitled “Brown Boy Brown Boy, what can you be?” I read it and I enjoyed it very much. It is a brightly colored, 32 paged, children’s book written just for little boys of color. It has cute rhyme and rhythm. The main character, Matthew can aspire to be lots of different occupations such as actuary, orator, and inventor. The book is beautifully illustrated and really encourages brown boys to dream big and think about future careers in the sciences, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Although some of the careers may be unfamiliar to younger children, such as horticulturalist, the illustrations are really detailed to explain what things may be involved in such profession. For beginner readers, it is really fun to read, as it has the catchy tune of “Brown boy, brown boy, what will you be?” after each page. To get your copy, find it here.
So, why the topic of occupations? The type of education you receive or lack thereof directly affects your socioeconomic status. The estimated national 2012-13 graduation rate for Black males was 59%. In different regions of the United States, graduation rates between Black male and White male students are largely disparate according to Schott Foundation for Education. The lowest estimated graduation rate for Black males are Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Nebraska, the District of Columbia and Nevada, each at 55% or less. Connecticut, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have some of the largest gaps between the Black male graduation rate and the White male graduation rates (over 20%). The majority of the states with the largest gaps are in the Midwest region of the country.
We should be excited about brown boys seeming themselves represented in a positive light and encouraged to aspire to finish school, graduate, and participate actively in their community.