racial battle fatigue
n. Stress and anxiety caused by constantly dealing with both overtly racist actions and subtle references to one‘s race.

Example Citations:
"The results of our study suggest that the notion of racial battle fatigue could be a very real phenomenon that might explain how individuals can go from the experience of racism to the experience of a serious mental health disorder," said Soto. "While the term is certainly not trying to say that the conditions are exactly what soldiers face on a battlefield, it borrows from the idea that stress is created in chronically unsafe or hostile environments."
—"Discrimination creates racial battle fatigue for African-Americans," Penn State Live, March 3, 2011

Instead of such overt racism, many blacks in Utah County experience "racial battle fatigue," a term that describes how some minorities can feel worn down by those daily reminders that one's skin color is different and that they are members of a tiny minority. Smith said the problem isn't simply the frequent incidents but the constant vigilance she feels she must maintain when faced with such incidents.
—Tad Walch, "Blacks find pluses, minuses," Deseret News, January 21, 2008

Earliest Citation:
Smith says that blacks continue to defend against incredulous critics, who charge that no self-respecting black American would join a racist church, and against those white members who are still suspicious of the "seed of Cain."

"There is a psychological toll taken on black folks for this kind of work," Smith said, which exacts a sort of "racial battle fatigue."
—Shane Johnson, "White Wash," Salt Lake City Weekly, December 16, 2004

Here's a much earlier citation, although it's hard to tell from the context whether it's using the phrase in precisely the same sense as I've defined it here:

Kendriks wished he were Jewish — not the ignorant sort who trusted in the abracadabral magic of bans, but a real American Jew who could never be liked nor killed; who was heir to so much racial battle fatigue, he possessed a fantastic dignity, a trust of time.
—David Shetzline, Heckletooth 3, Random House, January 1, 1969 (approx)

Related Words: