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

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  11,140 ratings  ·  1,466 reviews
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, or
...more
Hardcover, 185 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Convergent Books
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S.A. Klopfenstein Brown references church and her faith at times, but I would not consider it a Christian book. It is a book about racial justice, and I think there is …moreBrown references church and her faith at times, but I would not consider it a Christian book. It is a book about racial justice, and I think there is lots of valuable material for someone who does not share her worldview. (less)

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Shayla Mays
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Tiffany
Update on the second read-through. Turns out I gave that first copy away to my student, a senior black student, my advisee, who's "so done" (for good reason) with the institution where I work--an institution like many of the institutions Brown works for. I bought another copy to teach from this week in a Theology and Literature of the Black Body.

Finished this book today. Handed it to my white kids as soon as I closed the cover. Listen, I said.
Rincey
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-author, favorites
Yeah, I'm going to need my own copy of this book so I can re-read it and mark it up. So many good truths in here.

Watch me discuss this book in my July wrap up: https://youtu.be/8kaQcaNn9uw
...more
Cristina Monica
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The best time for me to read a memoir is after finishing a fantasy novel – in this case The Wicked King – because while fiction and non-fiction do share similarities (at least they should), plunging into something very different makes you even more aware of what you’re reading currently.

This is the kind of memoir I like reading. I recently learned that the word ‘‘memoir’’ can apply to both an exploration of someone’s life, like a biography, or writing on a specific topic, like an essay.

Although
...more
Leigh Kramer
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Raven
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read this book with the hope that Ms Brown would illuminate what actual justice or equality would look like. It was largely a memoir and a good one. I went school in the 70s and 80s so my experience was different but I was surprised to hear about hers as I had assumed things had changed somewhat since I had been in school. She seemed put off by the fact that the predominantly white school she attended taught and treated her through the lens of 'whiteness', but I am not sure how they could have ...more
Raymond
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars
"This book is my story about growing up in a Black girl's body."

"I am not a priest for the white soul."

"Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort."

This is a powerful book. Many of Brown's experiences being black in a white world have echoed my own. However, they are more visceral because she lives with the double bind of being a black female. Her book is part memoir and also has elements of James Baldwin and Ta-N
...more
Chanequa Walker-Barnes
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
April
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book and a must read for anyone who identifies with any of the following:
-is white
-is a person of color
-is Christian
-does anti racist work
-wants to do anti racist work
-anyone and everyone

I identified with so many of her experiences. It was just empowering to read stories that spoke directly to my own experiences and to have this book to point to as a reference point for white friends/allies/acquaintances looking to me to explain things to them.
Mehrsa
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everything Brown says is right and true. She writes it clearly and well. And everyone who has not already internalized the message of white privilege needs to keep reading these books until they can understand what it is like to not have white privilege. However, there is so little in this book and in others that might push us forward. And don't get me wrong, I don't mean optimism and hope, but change. I get the feeling in all these books that white supremacy is so ingrained that whatever is don ...more
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.
Ali Edwards
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing else to say besides this: this is an important book that should be read by everyone. Stories matter, especially those who have been marginalized over history.
Mari


This was an excellent collection of essays with a clear and concise voice. It was also such a personally meaningful experience for me, a black, Christian woman who has also often been the only one in the room. This was clear-eyed and honest. It managed to both be realistic and hard-hitting, but hopeful and full of love. There wasn't much here that felt new to me, in terms of ideas, but they were things well conveyed and tied to Austin's personal experiences. She tells her own story well. I will
...more
Lisa
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a tough read for a do-gooder white lady to read. Very convicting about the ways that my needs trump those of people of color and how much I want them to adapt to me and my group. I want diversity without having to change. Very personal and explicit. Not for the faint of heart—but more of us white people should be brave.
Christy
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. ...more
chantel nouseforaname
You know this is the second time I started reading this book. A few months ago I read the first chapter and was like.. okay, I get it but it wasn't enough to draw me in. This time around I was like, I should give this book the attention it deserves and I'm glad that I did. The second maybe third to the fourth chapter was really where it jumped off.

There is so much power in this book. Austin Channing Brown started off mad slow, taking her time to dive into the contents on the cover. Maybe it's b
...more
Rachel A.  Dawson
This has jumped to the top of my “everyone in America needs to read this book ASAP” list and I cannot rave about it enough. Austin has so powerfully and honestly told her story in a way that has opened my eyes even more and changed me in ways I won’t forget. This is just simply a must-read. It’s incredible and I’m grateful for her voice and work in a world that has so, so far to go
Meaghan Lee
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituology, 2018
I wish I could give this ten stars.
Annie Rim
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I'm Still Here" was written for black women. As a white woman, I spent the majority of the book feeling like a voyeur - I learned from the stories but rarely connected with Austin's. And that's the point. I need to read more stories in which I don't see any part of myself. I need to listen and learn and listen some more. Austin Channing Brown reminds me that it's not her job to educate me on my journey to understanding racial justice. But this book definitely helped me see my own uncomfortable ...more
Kevin
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Nicole
Sep 03, 2019 added it
I recommend listening to the audiobook read by the author Austin Channing Brown, as she is a skilled speaker.

A powerful, quick memoir of a black Christian woman’s perspective. This is an important work, whether you identify as a black individual / have similar experiences to Austin Channing Brown or not. This is not a work of sugarcoated opinions, but it is realistic and worth spending your time to engage with the hard work that still needs to be done to accomplish equity in our daily lives.
Elizabeth Green
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Dale
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At its core this is a hard book full of hard teachings. This I know - she has many more valid points than I would like to admit.

To be published in May of 2018 by Convergent Books.

Let me address the title of the book for all of you that will get hung up on the word "whiteness."

Let me use a rough analogy to explain it.

I am an overweight person. I used to be even more overweight (I have lost 85 pounds). I weighed enough that I had to buy almost all of my clothes online or in special stores. Most ma
...more
ColumbusReads
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars for me without a doubt.

Why I put off reading this incredibly important, incredibly relevant, incredibly brilliant book of essays, I don’t know. Why this book is not being talked about and discussed more by the bookworld, I don’t know.

This short book of essays dealing with racism in all its ugliness is powerful and is easy to read. It certainly can be read in one sitting, but try and avoid doing that so these pieces will soak in thoroughly. But if you must read it quick, then read it agai
...more
Katharine
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction-bio
I received an advanced copy of this at a conference. It tore me up. Brown doesn't pull any punches about the difficulty of being black in America. She doesn't put a happy ending on it all. She also doesn't paint the black experience as negative. Brown brings out the strength, beauty and dignity of being black.

I'm grateful for authors like Brown who are willing to help educate the world about harsh realities....to educate well-intentioned yet still so ignorant white people like me about racism. T
...more
Melissa
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For such a heavy topic as race equality, it’s a quick read and Austin explains what it means to be a black woman in today’s society with such ease and grace. It’s an eye opening account of how far we still have to go for race equality in this country. In my opinion, this should be mandatory reading for everyone. It would be a great start for tackling this issue.
Ronin2
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am an old white guy and I read the book to get a better understanding of race in America. Overt racism is an evil easily understood. It is the structural and accepted racism less easy to understand. It is the micro aggression and implicit biases less easy to understand. Being a pragmatist, I want a path forward to a more equitable America. Unfortunately, though well written, I was little aided by the book. I am sure I will be lambasted for this review as "another white guy that just doesn't ge ...more
Adriana
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THIS. This book RIGHT HERE is the actual epitome of transformative literature.
Stacy
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful. Review coming soon.
Jenn
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just, wow. A truly inspiring call to ACTION and not merely talk about race and diversity. So many parts of this book were challenging to me in all the right ways. I listened to the audio (read by the author). Her bravery at calling out real and hard things while at the same time offering a way forward was everything. I will definitely read this again. Highly recommend.
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2019 Reading Chal...: January Discussion Topic 6 24 Jan 20, 2019 07:02AM  
racial justice/white privilege 2 14 Sep 24, 2018 08:48AM  

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