Review: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown


Austin Channing Brown


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK • 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 its ideals.
“Austin Channing Brown introduces herself as a master memoirist. This book will break open hearts and minds.”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, 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 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 helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.

In a time when nearly every institution (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claims to value diversity in its mission statement, Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice. Her stories 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.


I first heard about Ms. Brown last year on a podcast. She was talking about why her parents gave her a guy’s name – as a way to get her a job interview because her name sounds like a white male (a foot in the door). I sat there thinking about that and how we can draw conclusions from just hearing a person’s name and after meeting them sometimes those images in our head are blown away.

I put the book on hold at the library last year and not until now did it come in. It’s been a popular book around here. I’m glad the library got some extra copies so more people can read it.

Reading this book, along with some other books, it made me think back to when I first learned Jesus wasn’t white. I grew up thinking of him as white-skinned because all the pictures portrayed him as a white male. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s and someone said, “You realize Jesus wasn’t white?” I had never even considered that idea. Once I stopped and pondered where Jesus was born it made more sense that he was NOT white at all. I had been indoctrinated into thinking of him as white and not until another person challenged that idea it hadn’t even occurred to me that all the statues and picture books had gotten it wrong.

That’s the great thing about I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Designed for Whiteness there is so much to think about in regards to how we see our world and the history we were taught about our country.

Read this book and join Ms. Brown as she walks you through her childhood and into adulthood as a Black Christian girl/woman growing up in a white culture.

Amy Signature

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Author: Foxy

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