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Exploring the Impact of Racial Justice Education

Racism is one of the most subtle problems embedded in our community, and it affects people not only individually but also families as well as communities. As a widespread issue, it needs our focus and critical self-reflection to be torn down by the systems based on prejudice. The article “Classes on Racial Justice Can End up Burdening Students, Faculty of Color” by Mishma Nixon in Teen Vogue (January 4, 2021) focuses on the challenging issues surrounding racial justice education. Nixon provides an insightful analysis of the way ‘good intentions’ make classes for students and faculty members of colour bear a burden. In her article, Nixon tries to walk through the complicated terrain of racial justice education, offering a sly critique. In this essay, Nixon’s key claims will be analyzed, and her argument efficacy in joining the wider discussion of racism will be discussed.

The Impact of Racial Justice Classes

The well-intentioned racial justice classes are described in Nixon’s article as the imposition of possible burdens on students and faculty members of colour. Nixon carefully contends that although racial justice classes were designed to promote enlightenment, this objective brings an unwanted side effect, a painful emotional and mental burden on individuals in marginalized societies. In her manner of articulate exposition, she focuses on a possible burden which could be imposed upon these people by the mental and emotional labour that was needed to support such classes (Nixon). This meticulous scrutiny discloses a thought-provoking lens, encouraging readers to reflect on the complex underpinnings of racial justice education and whether current approaches could be perpetuating further challenges for already marginalized individuals. Nixon states, ‘Despite this positive intention there are many challenges such as classes which can be emotionally taxing to students and faculty of color who may feel pressured into sharing their personal stories. Nixon brings up an important issue of the undesirable outcomes generated by racial justice education, signalling their emotional exhaustion. This calls for reflection on the need to provide an inclusive environment in these classes.

The Struggle with Tokenism

Nixon addresses tokenism as a prominent theme within racial justice education that impacts students and faculty of colour. The author aptly conveys the tokenizationtokenization term in relation to racial justice classes. The argument is that students of colour, for all their differences and diversity, may merely remain no more than examples while the substance owing them recognition still needs to be addressed (Nixon). This depiction highlights the possibility of alienating members from marginalized communities, thereby pointing out that some respect and inclusion are necessary for these learning environments. The author skillfully portrays the intricate interplays, prompting his readership to reflect on how tokenism can vitiate authentic talk necessary for achieving real comprehension and eradicating racial prejudice. He writes, “TokenizationTokenization decreases the students’ sense of self-worth as they start seeing themselves and their worth in class based on racial identity. Covering tokenism makes Nixon’s argument even more profound because it emphasizes that a different approach is needed to be inclusive and respectful while teaching about racial justice.” It raises questions about how educators can create an environment conducive to respecting the uniqueness of each student.

Navigating Emotional Labor

Nixon goes into the emotional work that is frequently needed from students and faculty of colour in racial justice classes. Illustrating this theme, the author argues that coming from marginalized communities, individuals face the daunting task of educating others on living their realities. This dual task of advocating and educating can be emotionally exhausting, with the likelihood of potential burnout (Nixon). The author’s argument highlights the intangible struggles that people from marginalized groups have to endure in light of both having to understand their own experiences and carrying an obligation to educate others about the imperceptible nature of systemic discrimination. Nixon remarks, “Students of colour may find themselves in the role of always having to account for and justify one’s experiential reality at a high emotional cost.” Thus, accompanying attention is drawn to racial justice education as an emotionally taxing practice requiring institutional support. This raises the need to reflect on creating an inclusive learning environment.


The insights on unintentional consequences that prisoners of colour may inherit from racial justice education are valid, thanks to Nixon’s assessment. Her subtle criticism urges us to rethink the methods that were used in creating racial awareness in educational environments. While Nixon adeptly points out the possible downsides of RJ classes, another look would say that these very same classes, when used well, are instruments for understanding, empathy and dismantling systemic racism. The link between racial justice classes and emotional distress requires a critical evaluation of how institutions can run such programs without hurting people unintentionally. A holistic strategy is recognizing and creating positive stress to reduce emotional labour.

Work Cited

Nixon, Mishma. “Classes on Racial Justice Can End up Burdening Students, Faculty of Color.” Teen Vogue, January 4 2021,


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