Dr. Paul D. Schafer believed that
"The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person. W e may say to our children: Here is art, science, philosophy, mathematics, music, psychology, history, religion--and we may open innumerable doors along the corridors of living so that they will have a broad and even a minute acquaintance with the segments of life; but these introductions are not as important as knowing people whose characters and actions, personalities and words have grown after similar introductions and have become worthy of emulation."
In this day and age, with absurd role models like Paris Hilton and ultimately disappointing role models like Tiger Woods, young people need to have real role models in their lives, people who succeed in areas other than athletics, entertainment, beauty contests or pure celebrity for the sake of pure celebrity.
Austinites Joah Spearman and Louis Harrison, Jr. successfully apply this principle in their new book Real Role Models: Successful African Americans Beyond Pop Culture. Role Models, published by the University of Texas Press, is a collection of interviews of twenty-three prominent professional African Americans whose success in work and life provides an inspiration to young people, both inside and outside of the African American community.
These professionals, including Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Danyel Smith, Editor of Vibe Magazine and James McIntyre, Spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, discuss their careers, their goals, their principles and their diverse backgrounds to help others like them realize their own potential.
Joah Spearman and Louis Harrison, Jr. also maintain an official Real Role Models blog and will be at Bookpeople this Tuesday at 7 pm.