Interrogating Whiteness: reading Austin Channing Brown’s “I’m Still Here”

By Sarah Hoenicke for Anomaly

I’m Still Here, by Austin Channing Brown. Convergent Books, 2018. 192pp, nonfiction.
Michael Brown was killed just weeks before I began my junior year at a private college in Oakland, California. “Police brutality” wasn’t a phrase I’d considered within an American context. My parents homeschooled my eight siblings and me. Our access to TV, the internet, music, movies, and people outside our church’s very small community was strictly limited. As a 24-year-old college transfer student, back in 2014, I knew next to nothing about the Israel-Palestine conflict, about the war in Iraq, about the history being made by America’s first Black president. And, if memory serves me correctly, the Christian curriculum we used at home taught that racism in America ended in 1865, with the Civil War.

The population of the county where I grew up, as of the 2010 census, was 50 percent white, 15 percent Black, 15 percent Asian; 24 percent of the population identified themselves as of Latinx origin.

I never considered the fact that I might be racist, or that I came from a place of privilege. I was in for an education. When Michael Brown was killed, and as the news reports of killing after killing after killing came out, my consciousness shifted. How could I live in a country where these things were happening? What could I do to stop these horrors?

Continue reading here.