In I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown shares the story of her life growing up as an African American woman surrounded by white people, white culture, and white expectations.
This book is a conversational memoir, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the book is fluffy. It’s not.
It’s filled with heavy-hitting text that requires us to honestly examine the impact of racism and white supremacy in America.
To help us do that, Austin Channing Brown shares her life story in the first section, giving readers an idea of who she is before delving into what racism means for people of color. The second part examines race relations from different angles: as a social construct, as internalized racism, and within law enforcement. And finally, the last section discusses how to address racism at every level—individual identity work, community-level change, institutional transformation, relationships with other races—to create substantive anti-racist results that will make our society healthier overall.
Channing Brown is crystal clear that we aren’t just talking about slavery, lynchings, or Jim Crow laws of the past. This call to acknowledge racism in the present moment is perhaps the book’s most significant learning opportunity for those who don’t face it daily.
Supremacy is alive and well and is still dictating policies in our churches, schools, legal system, and election process.
In I’m Still Here, Austin Channing Brown shares personal stories of facing racism in academia and within the walls of the predominantly white church, including microaggressions (and some not-so microaggressions) throughout her life while growing up surrounded by primarily white culture. Channing Brown also tackles racism in the workplace and offers insights into her struggle to find employment where her whole self was welcome as a black woman.
She provides a revealing perspective into how racism pervades every system in the U.S. Most importantly to white readers like myself, Channing Brown continually calls us to stop demanding BIPOC carry the weight of our ignorance and bias. It’s up to each of us to do our own work to uncover racism within us, grieve it, and choose differently WITHOUT dumping it onto the black and brown people in our community.
She also gives cringe-worthy examples of white fragility,
white innocence, and white guilt, all of which are
unhealthy ways to “handle” racism.
If you’ve done your work, you’ll understand these don’t actually handle racism, these actions only deflect from our personal responsibility and pass the buck to someone else, usually a person of color. Each chapter presents multiple opportunities for every white reader to pause and ask ourselves where we’ve responded similarly.
We can’t experience true freedom in the church if white people like us choose to rest in our privilege and turn away from the trauma racism inflicts on people of color.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is a necessary read as you are deconstructing your faith from white supremacy. Head to your local bookstore or grab a copy here to get started. Then head over to the Faith Deconstruction Cafe to let me know your thoughts about this book.
Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC is a Faith Deconstruction Coach for Christian Women at AngelaJHerrington.com who empowers women to break free from toxic religious culture by deconstructing their faith and helps them recover from #churchhurt.
Angela is a spunky Gen Xer who creates sacred spaces for vulnerable exploration. Her specialty is helping Christian women untangle themselves from limiting beliefs, toxic religious culture, and all the ways the enemy tries to keep them small. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela and her unique online ministry were featured in Lyz Lenz’s 2019 book God Land: Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. She also has been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is also a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest, and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women-led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
Angela is also a wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.