“Black Fatigue” by Mary-Frances Winters, founder and president of the Winters Group Inc.(Image courtesy BlackNews.com)
Oakland, CA via BlackNews.com — The Black Lives Matter movement is an international symbol of racial solidarity in the face of countless atrocities against people of color across the planet. Its progress is not just the result of political and corporate reactions to outrage fueled by the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and so many others but with the Black communities’ struggles for equity since the Middle Passage. Mary-Frances Winters, author and CEO of The Winters Group, is here to make it clear that Black people are exhausted from the long history of blatant racism.
Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body and Spirit by Winters (Berrett-Koehler Publishers; on sale September 15, 2020; 216 pages; available wherever books are sold) is a beautifully written treatise on the effects of racism on the Black psyche. Drawing from her own experiences as a first-generation American born of African Canadian parents, her endurance of racism in education and in corporate America, and deeply researched facts and statistics, Black Fatigue examines the collective phenomenon of having had enough of the gut-punch of continued institutional racism.
Black Fatigue empirically proves that “Black children often grow up too fast” because of their social circumstances and stereotypes that they are less innocent than white children. The mass incarceration of Black men greatly contributes to the striking statistics on how few of them marry. And the most striking of her findings is the startling connection between Black people and their psychological and physical health challenges as a result of enduring racism.
The racist system is not just killing Black people; it is tearing the whole nation apart. In every aspect of life, from socioeconomics to education, the workforce, criminal justice, and very importantly, health outcomes.
Black Fatigue is not only timely but a necessary edition to the 21st-century canon of critical writings on race and culture. Winters’ nine-chapter exploration of the subject is not only proof of racial disparity, but a step-by-step guide designed to educate the reader on the overlooked and forgotten history of discrimination and discontentment and what we can do about it. It is a timeless chronicle of both a Black woman’s path on the narrow road of white male privilege and the ancestral burden of being from a family that escaped the American South for Canada via the Underground Railroad. Winters’ story is unique, captivating, and right on time in both enlightening and containing a world on fire.
Key Talking Points
- Winters is a leader in the DEI space. The Winters Group partners with many Fortune 500 companies and organizations of various sizes that are seeking to create more inclusive and equitable environments.
- Were the recent corporate mea culpas and rallies for equity just a moment and not a movement? Is what is said publicly the same as what is happening privately in corporate culture today? Is racism still too uncomfortable of a subject?
- “Black Fatigue”, as a state of being, overshadows the progress both legal and social spheres because incidents of systemic racism continue to evolve just as quickly as intended corrections are made.
- There is nothing more powerless as a Black parent, than to be able to elevate your family’s social and economic status and still be discriminated against by the community in which you live.
- For Black people, being middle-class and from a two-parent family does not protect you from systemic racism.
- Racism has adverse effects on the literal health of Black people. Recently Michelle Obama spoke of her “low grade depression” because of the pandemic and racial injustice in the U.S.
- The compounding fatigue of multiple stigmatized identities—Black, Gay, Disabled, for example.
- Well-meaning white people literally do not know what to do in confronting racism.
- Millennials and Generation Z continue to suffer under the hand of systematic oppression. We have not reached a post-racial America as some asserted with the election of Barack Obama as president.
About the Author
Mary-Frances Winters is the founder and president of the Winters Group Inc. She has been helping clients create inclusive environments for over three decades. She was named a top ten diversity trailblazer by Forbes and a diversity pioneer by Profiles in Diversity Journal and is the recipient of the prestigious ATHENA Award, as well as the Winds of Change Award conferred by the Forum on Workplace Inclusion. Winters is also the author of We Can’t Talk about That at Work, (named by Forbes as one of 11 books for leaders to read), and Inclusive Conversations.