“Why Can’t I Just Chill?”: The Visceral Nature of Racial Battle Fatigue

Stephen John Quaye, Shamika N. Karikari, Kiaya Demere Carter, Wilson Kwamogi Okello, Courtney Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Racism is an ordinary, everyday system of oppression with which People of Color contend. Black people navigate a particular form of racism that is rooted in anti-Blackness, which describes a hatred white* people, non-Black People of Color, and even some Black people exhibit toward Black people. Black people working in student affairs are not immune to this racism; in fact, some of their experiences are exacerbated because they are working in a helping profession, which means they often are supporting Students of Color who are also experiencing the cumulative effects of racism on their bodies. This continued exposure to racism can lead to racial battle fatigue, the emotional, psychological, and physiological stress responses from racism. Given the pervasiveness of racism and anti-Blackness, Black student affairs educators often learn to cope with racism, seeing it as a problem that will always be present. This coping means white student affairs educators often do not understand the seriousness of racism and the toll it takes on the emotional, mental, and physical health and well-being of their Black colleagues. We sought to examine the visceral nature of racial battle fatigue, this is, the strong, deep-seated effects on the bodies of Black student affairs educators as they struggle to cope with racism in the workplace. This knowledge is crucial for recognizing its deleterious consequences and working to support Black educators in their healing process from racial battle fatigue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-623
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of College Student Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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