I can’t really say enough about this compelling little book.
Brown unpacks white privilege in a way that made me feel convicted and challenged in the ways that I look at the world (through the eyes of a middle-class, white, Canadian woman), but does it with such grace that I wanted more. Not because it was comfortable, because it definitely was not, but because I know deep down that there are cultural biases ingrained in me that I need to address and unlearn. Privilege I need to acknowledge. Changes I need to make.
She talks extensively about her own experiences as a black girl and woman, and the lessons that she has learned along the way. She talks about how her parents named her Austin so that when she grew up and entered the work force, her name wouldn’t immediately disqualify her at the application process stage.
She talks about organizations (workplaces, churches, schools, etc) that claim to have a progressive “diversity policy”, but once she was hired she quickly learned that a written policy rarely translates into what happens in the day-to-day life of an office.
In some of the hardest parts to read, she talks about how the church (particularly white evangelicals) has been to blame for so many of these ongoing problems (when in reality, shouldn’t it be the opposite?).
She calls the reader to do better. To have conversations, to confront apathy, to celebrate the beauty that happens when the black community is given an equal seat at the table.
Despite being a short book, it’s not an easy read by any means – but it’s a necessary one.