Yes, ‘Racial Discussion Fatigue Syndrome’ is a Real Thing [VIDEO]

You know how sometimes you experience something but you have no real words to articulate it then someone comes along and says it for you? Well, Akilah Hughes, of the Akilah Obviously YouTube Channel, does exactly that when she explains how tiresome it can be for Black people to talk with non-Black people about race in America. She calls this “Racial Discussion Fatigue Syndrome.”

Hughes poses several important questions like, “Are you constantly having to explain why certain viewpoints are problematic?” and “Have you stopped silencing yourself when the ignorant a– holes from high school comment on your Facebook posts?” Perhaps my favorite line of the short video is when she asks, “Do you find yourself wishing a n—- would on a regular basis?”

Sadly, while the video is funny, it points to a major issue many people who work in social justice, activism, and race writing encounter every day. Frankly, this work can be tiring. But, Hughes offers a few pieces of advise in the video which can help ease the Racial Discussion Fatigue Syndrome (RDFS) struggle.


Photo Credit: YouTube/Still

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Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson, PhD is a co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Water Cooler Convos. She is a native of Oakland, CA. Jenn is a radical Black feminist scholar who believes none of us are free until all of us are free.

7 Responses

  1. greenapples says:

    I would think you have racial discussion fatigue syndrome from constantly discussing racism yourself. You’re the one who’s decided to take it upon yourself to discuss [aka educate] white people on all their failings and transgressions. I read your posts, and your disdain for the white person in general is pretty obvious. What’s funny is – I’m white, and I’ve never done anything to you, yet I feel like you’d dislike me because I am.

    Isn’t that the very definition of racism?

  2. jA says:

    hi–i can’t imagine how excruciating this is. i imagine the majority of POC have to deal with a sort of PTSD from

    but, intersectionality! people don’t tend to notice able-bodied privilege. i’m disabled, and have an issue with your wording. those of us with the medical chronic fatigue syndrome are often not taken seriously, dismissed as headcases, whatever, despite sci evidence of a real, and extremely disabling, physical disorder. i’m bedridden, myself. not able to work, use a wheelchair to get to the doc. so i bristle when i see “fatigue syndrome” used in ways that aren’t medical. people get overwhelmed and exhausted and beyond–but that’s not like the medical fatigue when you have to crawl to the bathroom sometimes.

    Racial Discussion Fatigue? yes. probably worse than that. but syndrome? plz don’t use that word.

  3. I have Marfan’s Syndrome so I understand your concern and that is an issue of ableism. At the same time, I think it is meant to capture the fact that it does have chronic effects. I know that it causes me a great deal of stress, anxiety, loss of sleep/appetite, etc. So, I think the term is meant to convey that.

  4. I don’t have a disdain for White people but White privilege, superiority, and supremacy. If you think that applies to all White people, that is your issue.

  5. jA says:

    i can see that–it’s chronic, endless, constant. i can understand the intention. some of my sensitivity to this terminology comes from an insufficient name for the medical problem, and how it’s so widely trivialized.

    (hadn’t been familiar w/this site before, and am looking around and enjoying your writing!)

  6. Perriheyy says:

    Talking about race is implemental in dismantling racism. Racism was not created by Black people nor was it created by PoC. We talk about it because we are suffering, we don’t advance by ignoring it. We also don’t advance by adopting “color blindness”, that’s just a cop out (for I’m uncomfortable and I rather not). I find myself much like Jenn, in that I take it upon myself to bring awareness to people. My own personal goal is to not only leave the earth better than I found it, but its inhabitants. And talking about race isn’t cumbersome, being met with anger, aggression, disdain and people who are really just engaging you to get a rise out of you IS. I can’t speak for Jenn and I won’t dare, but I hope that clears it up.