Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Disclaimer: I am not a DEI expert. Further, the opinions contained herein are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CWBA or my employer.
Hi, my name is Amy Beard and I have been hiding behind my white privilege and fragility, believing that racism is not as bad as Black people say it is. I have been willfully ignorant for far too long. I am no white savior. I do not know how to fix what is broken; heck, I’m still learning what is broken. But I am committed to doing the work, internally and externally. I know I will get things wrong, that I will say the wrong thing. I will accept criticism with grace and recommit to digging into my own personal unlearning and will seek opportunities to interrupt racism. This is how we set the stage for our inaugural book club discussion of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.
After defining some terms, we dove into discussing the book’s message. We identified personal examples of our white fragility and ways white women in particular center conversations about racism. Robin DiAngelo states “we whites who position ourselves as liberal often opt to protect what we perceive as our moral reputations, rather than recognize or change our participation in systems of inequity and domination.” As a group, we committed to recognizing how our privilege perpetuates racism and to finding ways to disrupt the system.
The book has received criticism. One main critique is, can or should a white woman profit from discussions of racism when she has not and can never experience the effects first hand? In other words, is this author simply another white person profiting off Black people? This concern is valid. For some, this book may serve as a starting point for digging into privilege and anti-racism work.
We also discussed ways to continue our anti-racism efforts. From participating in protests to signing petitions, from continuing to educate ourselves and amplifying Black voices to interrupting racism when we see it at work and at home. Maya Angelou said it perfectly: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” DiAngelo acknowledged how she benefits from racism, and I’d modify her statement a bit. I may not have set this system up, but by continuing to participate in it and benefit from it – I am complicit in it, I use it to my advantage (whether I realize it or not), and I am responsible for interrupting it.
I am committed to continuing my own anti-racism journey and invite those interested to visit the Book Club forum for additional readings and courses from Black educators and activists.
Our next selection is Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. Described as the “ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures,” Brene’s goal is “to share everything [she’s] learned about taking off the armor and showing up as leaders.” I hope you can join us for a discussion about the book on October 8 at 5:30pm, so you too can Lead Beyond.
Amy Petri Beard is currently employed with the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office as a Senior Deputy District Attorney. She is assigned to the Broomfield office and prosecutes adult felony and juvenile matters. She is a 2016 COBALT graduate, on the Colorado Bar Association High School Mock Trial Committee, is a member of the Colorado Women's Bar Association, and is one of the Adams / Broomfield Bar Association’s representatives for the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors. She previously served on the Adams / Broomfield Bar Association Executive Board, was the Adams / Broomfield Regional Mock Trial Coordinator, and has served on the Broomfield Library Board. In her spare time, you’ll find her working out, reading, or spending time with her family (especially her grandson). She also enjoys volunteering as a tutor with Reading Partners Colorado, an organization devoted to assist students in low-income schools master basic reading skills.