“Intensity, anxiety … but also, hope?” Reflections on care, whiteness, and emotions by women of color during the virocene

Angie Mejia, Danniella Balangoy, Chandi Katoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This collaborative autoethnography explores the affective and material effects of the pandemic on our role as Women of Color providing care, engaging in caring, and doing care work at a predominantly white institution (PWI) in the Midwest. Incorporating sociological concepts to explore the racialized dimensions of care work in organizational settings (Hochschild's concepts of emotion labor and emotion work, Kang's work on racialized body labor, and Wingfield and Alston's theory of racial tasks within organizational settings), we examine the complex dynamics between intersectional vulnerabilities emerging from COVID-19 and structural gendered racism via whiteness in academic settings whose mission is to train future healthcare professionals. To do this, we engage in a collaborative autoethnographic approach to map how racial tasks in three socio-contextual spaces—academic, social, and experiential settings that facilitate out-of-the-classroom training opportunities—operated to sustain and normalize racial inequities and organizational dynamics that define the institutional identity of an undergraduate health sciences campus. First, we show racial tasks carried out by faculty of color were part of a response to the lack of resources for students of color and an organizational imposition that sustained racial inequities. Second, we describe how racial tasks carried out by undergraduate students of color are connected to white students' sense of fragility, behaviors, and dispositions that have been normalized and reflect aspects of the institutional culture of this PWI. And finally, we see how the body labor connected to racial tasks in experiential education/out-of-the-classroom learning sites exemplify how increasing white nationalism and Trump-era COVID-19's policy failures impact organizational practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1386-1403
Number of pages18
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We want to thank Christine Chukwuocha, Yuko Taniguchi, and the many other individuals who makes up a Women of Color community at our campus for their support, encouragement, and lessons on surviving spaces not made with us in mind. We also are grateful for the reviewers for their many comments and suggestions on this manuscript. We dedicate this work to the memory of Dr. Susan Moore. May she rest in power.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Gender, Work & Organization published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • body labor
  • care work
  • emotion labor
  • emotion work
  • racial tasks


Dive into the research topics of '“Intensity, anxiety … but also, hope?” Reflections on care, whiteness, and emotions by women of color during the virocene'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this