33rd Annual Conference

March 8-12, 2021


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

Book Reading

Day 3

Session Code: BR-3
When: March 10, 2021
Level: Intermediate
Presenter: Mary-Frances Winters, The Winters Group, Inc.


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’ Black friends and colleagues. She describes how in every aspect of life — from socio-economics to education, work, criminal justice, and, very importantly, health outcomes — for the most part, the trajectory for Black people is getting worse rather than 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’ hope for this book is that it will provide a comprehensive summary of the consequences of Black fatigue, not only on Blacks but on society as a whole, and awaken activism in those who care about equity and justice. The racist system is not just literally killing Black people, it is tearing the whole nation apart.

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
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Minneapolis, MN 55454
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Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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