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, organizations, 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 who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.
In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'm Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that 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.
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The mirror we desperately need
This book is a must-read for white folks who work in faith communities and the non-profit sphere. Brown is able to convey how whiteness lands on her every day in a descriptive way, and also to sum them up into philosophical conclusions.This balance of the small and large, the quotidian and the eternal not only illuminates the experience of black people in white workplaces, but also holds up a mirror to the behavior of the white people in them.
Austin does not hold back for hurt feelings and does not appologize for speaking her truth. Throughout the book Austin stays authentic to her feelings, her story, and the purpose for her book. I have been blessed to have the oppurtunity to read Austin’s story. I pray that the lessons I have learned lead me to take action to better serve the black people I may be honored to meet. Thank you Austin Channing Brown.
Absolutely powerful. I related to this story in so many ways. Austin gives voice to an angst, a frustration. Yet, she still shows up. I felt like I was having a frank conversation with kinfolk.