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, orga...

Title : I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
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ISBN : 1524760854
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Number of Pages : 185 pages
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I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness Reviews

  • Basma

    This book offers small snippets into Austin Channing Brown's life and experiences in navigating America while being black today and it starts off by her learning about race from knowing why her parents have named her Austin.

    There will always be something new to learn in reading own voices no matter how short the book is and no matter how many books you've read or even how many essays or articles that you came across that covers the same topics. And this book is no different.

  • Elizabeth Green

    While I am giving this book a two star rating I do believe that I did in fact learn a few things from this book and am better for it. Also it did cause me to think and evaluate how I perceive the world and if my thought process needs some tweaking.

    What I liked:

    Brown was honest and wrote with so much passion. Brown also shared some of her personal life expierence regarding racism and talks about sometimes theses things are not seen by the majority of the the United States. I also like how she tal

    “Even if you put it back on the shelf, Austin, you can’t touch store products and then put your hands in your pockets,” he explained as his large hands gently removed mine from their denim hiding place. “Someone might notice and assume you are trying to steal."

    Austin's illustration such as a simple shopping trip really point out something I've never noticed or thought about before. People of Color are thought a different set of rules due to systematic racism.

    The next quote is reason enough to read this book:

    “What would you think of those guys if you hadn’t just spent the afternoon with them?” It only took her a moment to tell the truth. “I would have looked at their skin color and tattoos, the way they dress and their playfulness and assumed they were gang members.”

    I have really be thinking about how I double check to make sure my doors are locked when I drive through a rough area. I'm not 100% positive its just because bars are on windows of houses and business or if it's the color of peoples skin. Quite frankly I don't know I've have ever driven in an area with bars on the windows where the dominate race is white. But it really makes me think if there is some subconscious racism in me.

    What I had problem's with:

    Austin failed to mention that identifying/ stereotyping a person by their skin color is harmful no matter what the color is. In fact she had no problem describing racism as something all white people did. Not some white people it was just simply "white people"

    Some of Austin's illustration to point out a point simply aren't an illustration of racism and things that all of us go through. At one point Austin describes and entrance when a women mistakes her for another person of color are claims that its because she black and that no one can see past her skin color. I can't tell you as a white person how many times someone has emailed me and talked to me in person and it was clear I wasn't the person they thought I was.

    The message: My body, my person is not distinct; I am interchangeable with all other Black women.

    At times it seems that Austin believes that simply being white makes a person racist and that there is nothing they can do that will not make them racist.

    That if they smile at people of color, hire a person of color, read books by people of color, marry or adopt a person of color, we won’t sense the ugliness of racism buried in the psyche and ingrained in the heart.

    At one point she mentions that "People of color are told that... that white people’s needs, feelings, and thoughts should be given equal weight.". It really infuriated me that she would think that everyone's needs, and feelings should not be equal. In fact throughout the book the words "Black" and "Blackness" are capitalized while "white" and "whiteness" are not. This demonstrates that Blacks are supior to whites and not promoting a message that all people should be equal regardless of skin color. It really goes against the argument she makes against racism. Aprrently it is okay as long as its against whites and not people of color.

    There are many other instances of this throughout the book. Also there was no data that she gave in the book that supported her claims. I know that there is I just wish she would have provided it. Also I was left to question the legatmicy of her claims after she made a claim that Christopher Columbus's landed on the United States of America when in fact he never did step foot onto this country. And the complete lack of data or evidence toward her other claims left me with some doubt that she fact checked what she was claiming. ...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

  • Kevin

    Some honest, poignant, and approachable conversation on race. I've read a lot of books on race, and sometimes they can be intimidating. The topic is heavy enough, but sometimes the books are academic in nature or are such a high level that you really have to wade through them. Brown's feels much more approachable. That's not to say she doesn't tackle heavy stuff (she does) or have hard things to say (she does) or is intellectually light (it's not), but it just feels very conversational. It's als ...more

  • Amy Hughes

    This is a MUST read. I'm grateful to Channing Brown for opening up her life in this beautiful and vulnerable memoir and reflecting upon her experience as a black woman in white spaces.

  • Kathleen

    4.45 stars. This is a powerful book! Review to follow

  • Chanequa Walker-Barnes

    Absolutely breathtaking! Just a few pages into this book, I knew that I had to finish it in one day. Austin Channing Brown does what many of us have been needing for so long: she centers her Black womanhood in her memoir of racial justice, reconciliation, and Christianity. By doing so, she demonstrates what womanist theologians have consistently claimed: when you begin with the experiences and needs of Black women, you articulate a theology that encompasses all. This is a memoir, to be sure, but ...more

  • Christy Childers

    Austin Channing Brown is straightforward & honest about her experiences as a black woman in America, making this a great addition to the ongoing racial justice conversation.