Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit

Berrett-Koehler. Sept. 2020. 216p. ISBN 9781523091300. pap. $15.95. SOC SCI
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.
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