Diagnosis: ‘White People Fatigue’

It’s like, we can barely get excited about Heidi and Lauren being friends again.

For years now, we have known there was something wrong with us. Even with all of the different reality shows on television and a constant stream of celebrity and political scandals to entertain us, we always felt this slight undercurrent of boredom, like, do we really care about Paris Hilton’s Carl’s Junior ad? Must we become super-enraged about Jack Abramoff? We tried reading What Color Is My Parachute?, but the Hills was on and then the Rachel Zoe Project, and then it was time for our shift at the co-op. At one point we went to the doctor and were like, “Fix it,” and he was like “I don’t know what it is, here are some antidepressants,” but we never filled the prescription because Duane Reade didn’t deliver at the time.

And anyway, it wasn’t depression. We didn’t know what it was! It was like one of those weird undiagnosable illnesses you read about in the Times Magazine! At least it was — until today, when Danny Hoch, the star of one-man show Taking Over, defined the condition in the Observer.

Citing Adrian Piper, a conceptual artist and philosopher who studied under John Rawls at Harvard, Mr. Hoch pointed to the concept of “white people fatigue.”
“What she’s talking about is that there’s a whole lot of white folks on the left — liberals, Democrats if you will — that have this fatigue about not wanting to do the work necessary to figure out their own place, and their own role in the scheme of things,” Mr. Hoch said. “These folks don’t want to do the work, they just want it to be fixed.”

We had no idea that this condition was linked to our pigmentation and not our morally bankrupt culture. And to think we were going to call it ennui. That would have been so, well, white of us. Perpetuating a vicious cycle, no doubt.

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Diagnosis: ‘White People Fatigue’