Black employees are exhausted. Over the past year, their cognitive, emotional, and physical resources have been disproportionally depleted due to two deadly and intertwined pandemics: Covid-19 and structural racism. Black people are more likely to lose their jobs and be hospitalized or die from Covid-19, while still facing disproportionate threats of brutalization and death from policing compared to white people.
Additional factors exacerbate these experiences. First, assaults against Black people were major news stories in 2020, broadcasted regularly across all types of media. This is what’s known as a racial mega-threat — a negative, large-scale, race-related event that receives significant media attention — which heightens racial trauma. Research shows that this type of ongoing experience creates psychological racial battle fatigue — a natural depletion response to commonplace, consistent experiences of heightened distress due to racism.
Second, Black employees and leaders are also often asked to educate non-Black individuals about racism and, in many cases, to lead the antiracism charge in their organizations. Responding to such requests and/or fulfilling them requires both physical and emotional labor, which can heighten existing fatigue. All of this is being added to the weight of ongoing disparities in the workplace, including pay inequality and lack of representation in leadership.
Read the complete article at: Harvard Business Review