Genderacialised, labouring bodies in long-term care homes in a time of “woke”

Online Event

19/10/2021, 2:30 pm - TO 19/10/2021 - 3:30 pm

Organizer: Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging

My Calendar

The “Burned out” (“Backbone of health care”). The “Thankless” (“Hero”). The “Discriminated” and “Disrespected” (“essential”) worker. Just some of the words used by personal support workers (PSWs) labouring in long-term care homes and living through public awakenings to COVID-19 and systemic racism; two, mutually serving, public health pandemics. In a precarious line of work that sees an overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and other Persons of Colour, these awakenings have only amplified the amount of emotional labour needing to be done by PSWs and other care workers in an already fractured system. PSWs and other health care professionals are celebrated with words like “hero” [sic] amid staffing shortages, lockdowns, vaccine refusals/protests, outbreaks, and profound illness, death, and loss casting doubt on personal worth, effectiveness, and promises for change. Further, for individuals who live with racism, a widespread awakening to racial injustice in addition to performances of allyship become difficult to process and support over time when little change is made. There is little doubt that these storms have brought rage, tension, struggle, and exhaustion to many. This presentation will discuss the danger of attending to (anti-) racism (among other -isms/-phobias) in a time of “woke” (a co-opted Black watchword, *used critically here) for care labourers of colour in a system compromised by COVID-19.

Registration required:


Kimberly Lopez (she/her) works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Kim is interested in critically examining structures that (re)produce oppressions affecting experiences of aging, long-term care, care labour, leisure, and well-being. In particular, Kim values working collaboratively to amplify individuals who identify with justice-deserving groups. To do this, Kim looks to influencers of anti-racist feminisms, anti-colonial and restorative practices, and identity-informed literature/art to hear knowings held in bodies that labour to care.