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

by Austin Channing Brown

Hardcover, 2018



Call number



Convergent Books (2018), Edition: 1st Edition, 192 pages


The author's first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when her parents told her they named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. She grew up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, and has spent her life navigating America's racial divide as a writer, a speaker, and an expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion. While so many institutions claim to value diversity in their mission statements, many fall short of matching actions to words. Brown highlights how white middle-class evangelicalism has participated in the rise of racial hostility, and encourages the reader to confront apathy and recognize God's ongoing work in the world.

User reviews

LibraryThing member NeedMoreShelves
If you are white, this book is going to make you feel very uncomfortable - and that's why you should read it. With the most gorgeous prose, Austin Channing Brown writes her story of growing up black in an America tailored for whiteness. This book will teach you and convict you in the same line.
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Channing Brown is not here to make anyone feel good - she is here to call us, all of us, to action. This is a powerful new voice that deserves to be heard.
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LibraryThing member jpsnow
This book might in the first couple chapters make you think racism is easier to grasp and with more shared experiences than you might have expected, but keep reading. Next it will make you realize it isn't that easy, and then it will make you sad and then mad. Then you'll start to grasp the
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experiences Black people deal with, in ways that will leave you contemplating and wanting to solve what you can't solve. At best, you can empathize, and stand with others, and push where any of us spot a chance to gain some progress. If you read it thoughtfully and with an open mind, it will help you understand how racism manifests and what we should do.
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LibraryThing member Mnpose
Well, I am an OWW (old white woman) which may or may not be important to know. I’ve tried writing a review 3 times and nothing I try to say comes out right. Just read this book - especially Austin’s letter to her son.
Austin Channing Brown, more women than your Momma will be reading this book.
LibraryThing member jekka
So it's hard for me to read this and not compare it to "So You Want to Talk about Race," since I just finished it earlier this month and they are both books by Black women about race. They are both excellent, important books, but the faith angle in this one could be really useful in having
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productive conversations within that community.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
“Doing nothing is no longer an option for me.”

Brown approaches the topic of racial injustice through her personal experience as a Christian. She encourages you to think critically about what you see and Re that as a white person, this is NOT about you. A wonderful read.

“It is haunting work
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to recall the sins of our past, but is this not the work we have been called to anyway? Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and inspire transformation?”

I’m listening.
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LibraryThing member spinsterrevival
I loved reading this; Austin has so much heart and strength. I hope that one day these are just old stories and not lived experiences of hatred toward a people.
LibraryThing member Beth.Clarke
A very readable memoir of race and the history that influenced much of the problems America faces today. Brown's story is told in a way that draws the reader in and helps them reflect on their own attitudes regarding race.
LibraryThing member SABC
"From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up black, christian, and female that exposes how white America's love affair with "diversity" so often falls short of it ideals" from inside cover of book.
LibraryThing member villemezbrown
I've read several books about racism in the last month, and excellent though they were, they tended toward historical, academic and educational in tone. This one is closer to a straight memoir, recalling the author's personal experiences with racism and her feelings about historical events. Very
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engaging and enlightening, especially with her perspective of working within Christian organizations.

A quick read and highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member strandbooks
Please read this, especially if you work in a place that says diversity is important. Learn how orgs talk about hiring for diversity, but then want an assimilated culture. It made me uncomfortable as it should have. We’ve all got a whole lot more work to do.
Austin’s parents picked her name
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because people would assume she was a white male. It worked, which means her memoir is filled with awkward meetings and misunderstandings starting at age 7 at the library all the way to her current jobs with evangelical non-profits.
Considering the horrific news of Atatiana Jefferson’s murder, I’m typing this excerpt from the book: “And so hope for me has died one thousand deaths. I hoped that friend would get it, but hope died. I hoped that person would be my ally for life, but hope died. I hoped that my organization really desired change, but hope died. I hoped I’d be treated with the full respect I deserve at my job, but hope died. I hoped that racist policies would change, and just policies would never be reversed, but hope died. I hoped the perpetrator in uniform would be brought to justice this time, but hope died. I hoped history would stop repeating itself, but hope died. I hoped things would be better for my children, but hope died.” This is from a very difficult part of the book, but it runs the range of emotions. As she writes “I had to learn to love Blackness.” In her story she shares times of joy, anger, humor, and bravery.
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LibraryThing member caanderson
Well written, Austin Channing Brown tells the struggles of being Black in the work places and places of worship. She makes real world suggestions regarding diversity, charity work, and life in general.
LibraryThing member Lisa_Francine
Austin Channing Brown tells her truth as a black woman of faith. Over and over again, I was breathless, at her honesty, her eloquence, her passion, and her life examples of growing up black in a "world made for whiteness" - required reading for all!

LibraryThing member KarenOdden
A sensitive, smart, sometimes even wryly humorous collection of memoir-essays about the author's experiences over the years of interacting with white people, from the outright racists to the well-meaning but obtuse "nice" ones. Her first line: "White people can be exhausting." She tackles
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assumptions, defenses, excuses, and fears, for both Blacks and whites. Well worth the read.
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
A memoir in which Brown discusses living in the US as both a black woman and a Christian. I remember enjoying this and really appreciating Brown's voice, but I've waited too long between finishing and reviewing to go into specifics. A good choice, though, to add to any list you might be making of
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books to read featuring diverse voices.
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LibraryThing member DrFuriosa
This is an excellent first-person account of race tailor-made for a white "progressive" audience. Brown is not soft or soothing but instead asks hard questions and tells uncomfortable truths. Every ally needs to read this book.
LibraryThing member goosecap
I’m not going to pretend that I found this easy to read. It is though, always easy to desire a more glib world, and to get crabby at the people who don’t comply with that desire.

In a way she’s like the Christian woman Malcolm X. I don’t say that as someone who makes a monster out of
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Malcolm. In a way though, Malcolm is easier to read, since his story is neatly finished, the excesses—Kennedy deserved to get shot, he declares, unintentionally comic—left behind, like the dirt from the river that the gold prospector is exploring. Austin’s story isn’t finished yet, and she’s not unintentionally comically calling for the assassination of Biden or whatever, so there’s no wrapping up and coming together. It’s just a hard world, especially for those left behind by America. Some white people unapologetically attack Blacks, sometimes giving that unapologetic attack another name. And some of us can’t sleep at night, wringing our hands into the early hours of the morning that the Blacks aren’t polite to us, that they make us look bad, that they don’t like being forgotten about and left to their fate.

I don’t pretend to have the answers to her anguished questions.
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
Eye opening, thought provoking, and much needed in today's world. Austin Channing Brown crafts 14 essays on what it means being a Black American. She talks about misconceptions, injustices, fear, tone policing, the barriers to success and so so much more. As a white person who is trying to be
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antiracist (and always learning more) this book opened my eyes to so many of the small microaggressions and things that I would never think of or have to go through as a white person. It reminds white readers that we still have far to go and can always learn more. It affirms with Black readers that what they go through is "normal" but certainly not fair or just. It's wrong and it will take white people more than a few diversity trainings to fix. Something I needed to read and really think about. Not just in passing, but really think and ACT on being more aware and changing the patterns and attitudes of our country.
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LibraryThing member davisfamily
Austin Brown is making me think about some weird, uncomfortable stuff.
LibraryThing member ms_rowse
Would love to see this added to any American Lit curriculum in high schools. Would be a more than suitable update to Black Boy (which I taught for several years) and probably more accessible/relatable. The most indicting and haunting quote from the book: "How long will it be before we finally
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choose to connect all the dots? How long before we confess the history of racism embedded in our systems of housing, education, health, criminal justice, and more? How long before we dig to the root?"

Reading this book is just one tiny step for white allies looking to pick up a shovel and start that work.
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LibraryThing member KallieGrace
Powerful, honest, and full of love. This might be a good introduction to anti-racism for the conservative Christian in your life.... Austin is also Christian and weaves that into her essays as part of her experience. I loved everything about this.

Physical description

192 p.; 7.84 inches


1524760854 / 9781524760854
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