NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Austin Channing Brown has navigated unfair expectations and prejudices all her life as a Black person in America. No, literally, all her life—her parents named her Austin because it sounds like a white man’s name, and they wanted her to be able to get job interviews. Black readers will almost certainly nod in recognition on just about every page of Brown’s memoir, which shows that for every act of straight-up bigotry a Black person encounters, there are dozens—hundreds—of daily microaggressions, patronizing acts of faux solidarity, and other “benign” manifestations of racism. (Even something as simple as choosing to eat lunch alone can be judged as being antisocial by white co-workers.) While sharing her story, Brown offers a kind of survival guide for those who have to deal with white fragility at school, at work, and in other public spaces, stressing the importance of standing with other people of color and of speaking your truth even in the face of attacks. At times, reading I’m Still Here can be an overwhelming experience no matter your background and experience—Brown repeatedly makes it clear that being a Black person in America is often simply exhausting. But her powerful story can inspire everyone to work harder to change.
In this powerful book, Brown is up front about her exhaustion with white people as she meticulously details the experience of being a black woman in modern American society. After explaining that her parents named her Austin so that potential employers would "assume you are a white man," she recreates a typical interview and first few months at a new job: "Every pair of eyes looks at me in surprise.... Should they have known? Am I now more impressive or less impressive?... It would be comical if it wasn't so damn disappointing." In clear prose, she relates anecdotes to shed light on racial injustices that are systematically reinforced by the standards of white society. Brown, a Christian, believes the history of American Christianity is deeply intertwined with race relations and that Christian communities need to play a large role in racial reconciliation. Explaining that change needs to come from acknowledgement of systemic inequalities, Brown calls on readers to live their professed ideals rather than simply state them. Though the writing style can be preachy, Brown's authoritative tone and moving message make this a must-read for those interested in racial justice within the Christian community.
I read this to prove to someone else that it was a good book and worth reading and I was actually impressed. I was moved nearly to tears by the authors story of her cousin and I think she makes some excellent points about race relations in the United States (I am a white woman).
I’m White and I am sick of this prejudice against my race.
Can not recommend.
Mostly just propaganda