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

Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body and Spirit by Mary-Frances Winters is a great book for any reader seeking a wealth of information on the overlooked, and forgotten history of, discrimination in the Black Community.

Imagined as a tree— Black Fatigue has many branches, stemming from a tree rooted in systemic racism: Environmental Racism, economic inequalities, racial profiling, racism in the workplace, and health disparities. Winter’s exploration of gender politics and stigmatized identities, social and racial injustices, and how to collective combat Black Fatigue are ingenuously articulated throughout the step-by-step guide, designed to educate readers on discontentment and discrimination, and what can be done about it.

A history of tolerance for violence has laid the groundwork for injustices today. Winter’s research provides an insight of the current system’s roots in racism. Winter shares “Black people are fatigued because of the lack of progress in dismantling centuries-old racist systems” (p. 67).

From disenfranchised Black Queer narratives, Blame a Black Man Syndrome, overlooked Black Trans murders to the recent Black Lives Matter movement— Black Fatigue explores the effects of racism on the Black psyche. This book truly reworked how I view racial disparity and how racism can shape Black lives. I greatly appreciate Chapter Six: Say Her Name. One line that truly resonates with me is: “Black women are stereotyped as ‘workers’ and have internalized this characterization by overachieving, self-sacrificing, and neglecting our health and dismissing the need for self-care” (p133).

Black Fatigue’s connection between Black people’s psychological and physical health challenges as a result of enduring racism is refreshing articulation of Black Pain. Winter’s shared personal stories and findings illustrate Black people, as a whole, are beyond exhausted from a long, history of blatant racism. Black Fatigue beautifully illustrates racism can cause chronic stress and “health disadvantages are related to the harmful effects of chronic experience with race-based discrimination, both real and perceived” (pg 27).

The Black Experience is a collective narrative and Winter’s exploration of multiple identities and intersections, classism in the Black community and her personal stories provide insight on how racism has adverse effects on the literal health of Blacks.

The nine-chapter, step-by-step guide is a highly suggested title for readers looking information on subjects, such as:

Post-traumatic Slave Syndrome

Black Trans and Queer people of Color

Racial disparity Black Lives Matter

Trauma Imagery and Black bodies

Mental health and illness

Systemic oppression

Racial injustices

Intersectionality and Stigmatized identities

Classism and Elitism in the Black Community

Institutional Racism

The Black Experience

Black Canadian Literature

Mary-Frances Winters is the author of We Can’t Talk About that at Work and Inclusive Conversations. For more information about Winters and her literature, check out her official website. Black Fatigue can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or RandomHouse.


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