To be fair, it took me way too long to read this book because I was slammed and couldn’t fully devout the kind of attention to it that it deserved. But it’s a fascinating read about one woman’s experience of being black in today’s America and what it means to really authentically love yourself.
A friend of mine recommended this book because we were both in a program dedicated to curating great, long-term teachers in urban neighbourhoods and she thought this would be a great book for me to read. Additionally, I’d mentioned that I was looking for books that made me uncomfortable but also made me grow as a person and this book definitely did the job & then some.
Rumour has it, Austin Channing Brown’s parents named her Austin because they did not want future employers to automatically assume she was African American. Throughout the book, she confronts white America head-on for its involvement in the current racial divide and what to do about it.
Throughout the book, it shares stories of Brown’s own experiences & livelihoods. It’s heartwrenching, uncomfortable, and astounding of what some people will say without any thought or preconception. It’s a great book that, if you’re white like I am, it’ll make you think twice about any biases you may have and makes you re-evaluate your life.
What really stood out about this book, in particular, is that even though there are these great laws and protections in place, people can be awful and completely disregard what it means just to be a decent human being and pay attention to how others are hurting or have been adversely affected by our seemingly small actions. This book, as much as I’m ashamed to admit it, made me check my own privilege and review how I think as well as how I act. It’s powerful when a book can do that, especially given the subject matter. But that’s the whole point of reading and learning, isn’t it? Making yourself uncomfortable in order to assess, grow, and really develop — but one has to be willing to do that. And that can be beyond difficult to take that first step.
This book will probably take a while for me to fully digest and swallow but it was well worth the read. I highly, highly recommend it. There wasn’t one quote that really stood out in this book because the whole book is phenomenally written.