Black fatigue How racism erodes the mind, body, and spirit

Mary-Frances Winters

Book - 2020

This is the first book to define and explore Black fatigue, the intergenerational impact of systemic racism on the physical and psychological health of Black people--and explain why and how society needs to collectively do more to combat its pernicious effects. Black people, young and old, are fatigued, says award-winning diversity and inclusion leader Mary-Frances Winters. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining to continue to experience inequities and even atrocities, day after da...y, when justice is a God-given and legislated right. And it is exhausting to have to constantly explain this to white people, even--and especially--well-meaning white people, who fall prey to white fragility and too often are unwittingly complicit in upholding the very systems they say they want dismantled. This book, designed to illuminate the myriad dire consequences of living while Black, came at the urging of Winters's Black friends and colleagues. Winters describes how in every aspect of life--from economics to education, work, criminal justice, and, very importantly, health outcomes--for the most part, the trajectory for Black people is not improving. It is paradoxical that, with all the attention focused over the last fifty years on social justice and diversity and inclusion, little progress has been made in actualizing the vision of an equitable society. Black people are quite literally sick and tired of being sick and tired. Winters writes that my hope for this book is that it will provide a comprehensive summary of the consequences of Black fatigue, and awaken activism in those who care about equity and justice--those who care that intergenerational fatigue is tearing at the very core of a whole race of people who are simply asking for what they deserve. -- Provided by publisher.

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Subjects
Published
Oakland, CA : Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xv, 234 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 193-215) and index.
ISBN
9781523091300
1523091304
Main Author
Mary-Frances Winters (author)
  • Introduction: Black fatigue runs deep
  • My black fatigue
  • Addressing sublime ignorance
  • Then is now
  • Racism literally makes you sick: It is a preexisting condition
  • The many layers of Black fatigue
  • Say her name: Black women's fatigue
  • "I can't breath": Black men's fatigue
  • Out of the mouths of babes: Black children's fatigue
  • A clarion call for collective action to combat Black fatigue
  • Conclusion: Reimagining a just world.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

In her latest work, Winters (We Can't Talk About That at Work) explains that Black fatigue is not new—Black people have been protesting and resisting for centuries. What is new, Winters explains, is that white people can no longer claim ignorance after widely reported protests in response to the killing of George Floyd. The narrative moves from personal, with the author sharing her ancestor's journey on the Underground Railroad, to professional, as she recounts her experiences of being discredited. According to Winters, Black fatigue can cause mental, physical, and spiritual ailments that are passed down through generations. She deftly shows the emotional and physical toll of always being on guard and suppressing emotions in order not to be perceived as a threat: chronic illness and stress, which can lead to shorter life outcomes. Definitions in each chapter will allow readers to understand structural inequalities, and the toll of navigating more than one marginalized identity. While the book remains strong throughout, the call for collective action stands out as Winters asks white people to stop using discomfort as an excuse not to talk about race, and implores Black people to resist educating others. VERDICT An excellent entry-level resource on antiracism for anyone looking to begin but unsure of how to get started.—Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents information about the intergenerational impact of systemic racism on the physical and psychological health of African Americans and explains why and how society needs to collectively do more to combat its pernicious effects.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

This is the first book to define and explore Black fatigue, the intergenerational impact of systemic racism on the physical and psychological health of Black people--and explain why and how society needs to collectively do more to combat its pernicious effects.Black people, young and old, are fatigued, says award-winning diversity and inclusion leader Mary-Frances Winters. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining to continue to experience inequities and even atrocities, day after day, when justice is a God-given and legislated right. And it is exhausting to have to constantly explain this to white people, even--and especially--well-meaning white people, who fall prey to white fragility and too often are unwittingly complicit in upholding the very systems they say they want dismantled.This book, designed to illuminate the myriad dire consequences of "living while Black," came at the urging of Winters's Black friends and colleagues. Winters describes how in every aspect of life--from economics to education, work, criminal justice, and, very importantly, health outcomes--for the most part, the trajectory for Black people is not improving. It is paradoxical that, with all the attention focused over the last fifty years on social justice and diversity and inclusion, little progress has been made in actualizing the vision of an equitable society. Black people are quite literally sick and tired of being sick and tired. Winters writes that "my hope for this book is that it will provide a comprehensive summary of the consequences of Black fatigue, and awaken activism in those who care about equity and justice--those who care that intergenerational fatigue is tearing at the very core of a whole race of people who are simply asking for what they deserve." Reading group discussion guide available.