Without racial understanding, there will be no peace, no social sustainability.

I am white. I will never fully understand what it means to institutionally discriminated against. I will never understand the depth of being called the “N” word by a white person. What I can do is educate myself about how others are being treated, listen, and hear the deep, deep feelings and needs being expressed on a day-by-day basis as yet another person of color is killed by police.

If you are white and reading this, I’d like to ask you to imagine a scenario for a moment. If you don’t agree with the reporting of the impacts of racism, I’ll ask that you suspend belief and imagine the scenario anyway.

Imagine for a moment that the people sanctioned by your government to carry firearms, to shoot and kill, the very same people that are supposed to protect everyone, violently target you, time and time again, all across the U.S. Imagine this has been the case for the entire history of this country (and well beyond).

I’m guessing you may feel disparaged and terrified because you are in touch with your needs for safety & protection (as well as belonging, understanding, acceptance, trust, consideration, respect, autonomy, community, inclusion, ease, harmony, peace of mind, and support).

I’m guessing in the face of these people and the many who support them, many of whom refuse to even acknowledge the real-life impacts of racism, you may easily feel furious, indignant, appalled, and resentful. Is it such a stretch to even begin to try to understand the existing circumstances? Why there are protests, riots, and anger? This screams of unspoken needs (to the point of death) and immeasurable pain.

Racial understanding is important to me because I value human life, personal fulfillment, and social sustainability. I value safety, protection, understanding, consideration, and trust. If you share these values, please take time out of your day to reflect upon these circumstances. To take notice when a black person holds a sign saying “Will I Survive In America?” Have you ever had to ask yourself this question? How terribly horrifying to ponder your safety because of the pigment in your skin. Listen to the needs and feelings so prominent in someone wondering if they will survive living in the U.S.