This three-part series examines the pressures and fears that adolescents growing up in the city experience.
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
In an age of incredible change, everything seems to affect, for better or for worse, the development of these young adolescents: the family, the school, the city, the media as well as popular culture. As Halloween approaches, rumors of gang violence-on the street and in the media-traumatize sixth graders. Fashion matters to adolescents, and those who don’t wear hip clothes with designer labels may be isolated and ridiculed. The clothes are expensive and produce tough choices for the family. In another vignette, young girls decry the pressures they face from the onslaught of unattainable images of feminine beauty, even as they confess to being absorbed and fascinated by those same ideas. Their stories are both timely and timeless.
Watch Part One:
PART TWO: DISCOVERING RACE
Sasha, Paul, Jessica and James attend the same magnet school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Part two examines the ways in which race becomes an issue in the lives of four adolescents.
Sasha is a Russian immigrant whose mother wants him to marry one of his “own kind.”
Paul is a Hispanic whose “look” labels him as a gang member. This seems to cause adults to cross the street.
Jessica is a white girl who was taken out of her privileged, private school to attend a NYC public school where she is a distinct minority.
James is learning how difficult it is to be a young African-American male in a white-dominated society.
Watch Part Two:
PART THREE: FAMILY PORTRAITS
In this hour we accompany five adolescents home to meet the adults who are raising them.
We meet parents who are struggling with age-old dilemmas: how to combat negative peer pressure, how to teach children to be careful of the city’s dangers without making them too scared; when to let go and when to hold on, as their young adolescents press for more freedom.
In two of the families, the fathers are absent, and the adults struggle to help their daughters come to terms with their absence.
Our five families are typical urban Americans. Every family has at least one working adult: a chauffeur, a store clerk, and a sanitation worker.
All graduated from high school, and one has a college degree. Their family income ranges from $17,000 to $45,000 a year.
This final program is perhaps the most personal.
Watch Part Three:
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