Review: I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

During Black History Month, the Institute will be highlighting important books whose messages are important for students and ministries to grapple with.

“Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.” - Paul Laurence Dunbar

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The power of Austin Channing Brown’s book of memoir-essays, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, lies not only in her honest recollections of how participation in a ‘world made for whiteness’ strips the voice, beauty, history, and strength of people of color, but in how relatably-foreign her experiences are: a student in the classroom; a college road trip, a job interview. Students will at once shake their heads at the seeming-impossibility of her feelings, her stories, and at the same time will find themselves sitting across the room from her in all of them.

What does it mean to discover your own racial brokenness not in overt acts of evil and discrimination but in the day-to-day structures, rhythms, and banalities of life? Pick a chapter - any chapter. Sit with a small group and read, and simply ask them what they are feeling. In what ways are they uncomfortable? Brown’s text is subtle enough to be heard, and sharp enough to sit in your stomach long after you read it. We cannot recommend it enough.

ReviewsStephen Yates