Perception determines the characteristics of what it perceives—for example, whether a race is threatening or whether a race is worth paying attention to. Perception determines whether we like someone or something; in an armed confrontation, it determines whether we shoot someone or pause. Through this practice of questioning my perceptions, I was able to directly discern that race is not inherently good or bad, right or wrong. It is our judgment about race—how we have been conditioned to think and perceive—that’s problematic. This, we can do something about.

From Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom edited by Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Cheryl A. Giles © 2020. Reprinted with permission of Shambhala Publications.