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I'm Still Here summary

Austin Channing Brown

Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

3.9 (40 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown is a powerful memoir about her experiences as a Black woman in America, challenging readers to face their own complicity in systemic racism and to work towards true racial justice and equality.

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    I'm Still Here
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    As she grew up, Austin Channing Brown realized that being Black made white people see her differently.

    One afternoon years ago, when the author was seven, she made her way to the front desk in her very favorite place – the library. She had a big pile of books to check out.

    But the librarian was confused. She peered at the library card, eyebrows raised. Was this really her card? The author realized the problem. “Yes,” she sighed, “my name is Austin.”

    This wasn’t the first time Austin’s name had caused confusion. So she asked her parents why they’d called her that.

    Her mother explained: they’d chosen a name they thought would help her get ahead in life. A name that, on paper, made it look like she was male and white.

    Austin’s mind was blown. She already knew “Austin” was usually a man’s name – but she hadn’t realized it was a white man’s name. This was only the start of her dawning realization of the significance of race.

    The key message here is: As she grew up, Austin Channing Brown realized that being Black made white people see her differently.

    Austin’s family was Black, but the schools she attended were largely white. This was the late 1980s and early 1990s. Back then, the preferred approach to race issues was color blindness – the idea that people should simply pretend not to see racial differences at all.

    But that approach didn’t always guarantee a comfortable atmosphere for Black students like Austin. At elementary school, she was called the N-word. Even in senior year, she overheard a white classmate blaming affirmative action for her failure to get into her first-choice college.

    Other incidents gave her pause too – like when one well-liked teacher made a startling admission to her class. The teacher told her students she’d just realized that she’d been making a racist assumption. The teacher had thought that if two Black students sat next to each other, they would disrupt the class.

    Austin saw the teacher’s good intentions in admitting this, but the revelation made her uncomfortable. She hadn’t realized that sort of stereotyping really existed. Suddenly, she became aware that all her school’s teachers might be silently judging her.

    Ever since that library incident, Austin had known that her race shaped people’s perceptions of her. Now, she was starting to see how deep those perceptions ran. Racism went beyond name-calling and violence. It was everywhere.

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    What is I'm Still Here about?

    I’m Still Here (2018) is a memoir about racial justice in modern America. Racism is still all around us – even in Christian organizations that claim to champion diversity and understanding.

    I'm Still Here Review

    I'm Still Here (2018) by Austin Channing Brown is a thought-provoking memoir that sheds light on racial injustice and challenges readers to confront their own biases. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With raw honesty and unflinching vulnerability, the author shares her personal experiences of racism, providing a powerful and eye-opening perspective.
    • The book explores the intersection of race and faith, offering profound insights and thought-provoking reflections for readers to grapple with.
    • Through her storytelling and compelling narrative, Brown brings immense empathy and understanding to the discussion, making it a compelling and impactful read.

    Who should read I'm Still Here?

    • People looking to understand what it’s like to be Black in America
    • Christians eager to learn how to be truly progressive
    • Fans of powerful memoirs

    About the Author

    Austin Channing Brown is a speaker, writer, and producer, on the topic of racial justice. She executive produced the web series The Next Question and her work has featured in outlets including On Being, the Chicago Tribune, Christianity Today, and WNYC. I’m Still Here is her first book.

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    I'm Still Here FAQs 

    What is the main message of I'm Still Here?

    The main message of I'm Still Here is to challenge and dismantle systemic racism.

    How long does it take to read I'm Still Here?

    The reading time for I'm Still Here varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is I'm Still Here a good book? Is it worth reading?

    I'm Still Here is worth reading for its powerful exploration of racial injustice and personal experiences. It offers valuable insights to broaden perspectives.

    Who is the author of I'm Still Here?

    The author of I'm Still Here is Austin Channing Brown.

    What to read after I'm Still Here?

    If you're wondering what to read next after I'm Still Here, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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