As a 74-year-old who has lived a full and fruitful life, Bob Edwards thought he knew himself well.
Although Bob is a white male, he has made it a point to embrace diversity throughout his life – seeking out friends from different ethnic backgrounds, standing up for co-workers during his 52-year career at General Motors, raising two adopted daughters of Asian descent, and volunteering for nearly four decades at a program to feed people experiencing homelessness.
“It’s really interesting,” he said. “I can see that I have as much bias as anyone else. It’s part of my cultural makeup. Now that I know, I can be more aware. Unless you take the test and you’re open to learning, you might never know, and things might never change.”
Bob has committed to fully immersing himself in the challenge. He dedicates a couple of hours each day to engaging with the daily email content and joins the Friday roundtable discussions. He said he enjoys the diversity at the roundtables — something he has missed since retiring last June.
These days, he spends most of his time in his Ann Arbor neighborhood, which he realizes lacks people of color — particularly Black people — despite the city’s reputation as a cultural melting pot.
“There’s a lot we can learn from each other if we seek out opportunities,” he said. “I understand that even though we might both be considered middle class and even work for the same company, my experience as a white man is going to be much different than the experience of a Black woman.”
Bob is intent on learning as much as possible about equity and using the information in the challenge to make a difference.
“It’s an absolute day-after-day education,” he said. “That’s what we’re here to do: to learn.”