Read I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown Online

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

From a powerful new voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America. Austin Channing Brown's first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, "I had to learn what it means to love blackness," a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America's racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'm Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.For readers who have engaged with America's legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I'm Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God's ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness--if we let it--can save us all....

Title : I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
Author :
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ISBN : 9781524760854
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 pages
Url Type : Home » Download » I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

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I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness Reviews

  • Lesley

    We’ve seen this before: persistent white refusal to acknowledge structural racism, the softening of America’s racist history, the lone black person as reluctant racism confessor for white colleagues. Yet Brown explores racial ignorance within the white church, noting how Christian values of hope, forgiveness and unconditional love do not seem to apply to black people, but instead give “nice white people” a pass on their racism. Brown poignantly describes the death of her cousin in jail, “I had t ...more

  • Shayla Mays

    In the same way that not everyone was ready and could handle, Between the World and Me, this is another that some will have a hard time with. It was not meant to comfort white people. It's written to share a black experience. With that being said, if there is one book that could most accurately define my Christian black womanhood... my thoughts, my pain, my fear, my concerns, my frustrations, my awareness that I MUST press on despite not having much to cling to for hope... it's this book. I read ...more

  • Leigh Kramer

    If you're at all familiar with Austin Channing Brown, you know she is a gifted communicator as both a writer and speaker. I had high hopes for her first book and I was hooked from the first page. I had intended to only read the first few chapters and before I knew it, I chucked my plans for the day and wrapped myself up in the pages of Austin's story.

    By the time I finished reading, I was even more in awe of Austin. I'm Still Here is truly phenomenal.

    Austin shares how even her very name challenge

    "The role of the bridge builder sounds appealing until it becomes clear how often the bridge is your broken back." p. 42

    In chapter 5, titled Whiteness At Work, Austin details the microaggressions she experienced in her average workday at a Christian organization. It was staggering to see them listed out and know this was just an average day. One of many. And then to see how the organization had no interest in changing when Austin pointed out the biases present, despite its supposed commitment to diversity in the workplace. 

    It is little wonder why Austin finds white people so exhausting. I can only imagine the bone-deep tiredness that comes after a lifetime of existing as a Black woman in primarily white spaces. 

    White readers will need to pay special attention to the sections exploring the difference between white fragility and taking full ownership of facing your own racism. If you are white, you have internalized racism, even if you don't see it. This is what it is to live in a society stacked in your favor from the moment you are born and this is why it's important for us to confront our privilege and interrogate our biases.

    More importantly, we cannot—we must not—rely on People Of Color to help us do that. As Austin notes, she is "not the priest for the white soul" (p. 65.) 

    I was very moved by Interlude: Letter To My Son. I was also moved when Austin shared about her fears that crop up whenever her husband or dad travels. She worries they'll be pulled over and won't make it home. It's horrifying that this is not an unrealistic fear, that there's nothing we can say in reassurance. It's a profound reminder of why we need to keep fighting for justice and the eradication of white supremacy at every level. 

    There are tough truths here but there is also joy as Austin reflects on the gifts the Black church has given her and what she loves about being a Black woman. I loved reading about her memories of her childhood and time with her family, as well as her love for books and the library.

    Each chapter builds upon the one before it in a way that is masterful. This mastery becomes especially clear in the final two chapters. The last chapter is a reflection on hope and hopelessness and it is precisely what I needed to read for so many reasons. 

    "This is the shadow of hope. Knowing that we may never see the realization of our dreams, and yet still showing up." p. 105

    Then I read the final paragraph and Austin brought it all home and my only thought was, "holy shit." It was that powerful. I read it again and then again and let her words sink in. The whole book builds toward that moment and it is absolutely incredible getting there. Highly recommended.

    Disclosure: I was provided a review copy from Convergent in exchange for an honest review. ...more

  • Ashley

    I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown is a collection of essays that talk about her experiences growing up as an African America female. And no that isn't a typo. Austin is a woman who was given a traditionally white male name by her parents in the hopes that her life would be a little be easier when applying for jobs. Austin talks a lot about her upbringing in Toledo where she attended private school and lived in a predominantly white neighborhood. Not only does she mention how her upbringing ...more

  • Kristi Brokaw

    Clear, succinct, and poignant. This book isn’t really for white people, but every white person should read it. Austin Channing Brown just tells the truth with conviction and feeling. I have been reading books about race for a few years and this is the first I’ve seen in a white, upper-middle class, and specifically ministry context. She discusses racism in places that are supposed to be above it, white guilt in a way that I have never heard so clearly defined and contended with, and the fear and ...more

  • Bethany Winn

    A must-read, particularly for white people in Christian spaces. I'm having my 10 & 12 year old read it this summer.

    Austin currently works for Calvin College, where I received my undergraduate degree. She's a prophetic speaker and writer who deeply loves God's people and expects better of us. Her book is accessible and honest, difficult and lovely.

  • Cheriecrosby

    This book is definitely one of the best books I read this year and in the last decade. It is an empowering book for Black women who have been the only one or one of a few. Austin Channing Brown provides an authentic portrayal that many black women and persons of color have.

    She also shows how what she and many have experience begins in childhood. This is definitely a book I wish I could have discussed with my mother.

  • Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*

    Absolutely magnificent. The female, Christian answer (not critique, not correction, but response— as in, call and response) to Coates’s Between the World and Me. A must read for Christians of conscience. 5 stars.