Racial Council Advisory Position Statement

Responding to the “most vital and challenging issue” of eliminating racial prejudice both inside and outside the Baha’i community, BahaiTeachings.org established its Advisory Council on Racial Unity to help review, explore and understand the implications of eradicating racism between white and black people—and to elevate the perspectives, the observations and the insights of people of African American ancestry.

The Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, exhorted the American Baha’i community in The Advent of Divine Justice:

As to racial prejudice, the corrosion of which, for well-nigh a century, has bitten into the fiber, and attacked the whole social structure of American society, it should be regarded as constituting the most vital and challenging issue confronting the Baha’i community at the present stage of its evolution. – pp. 33-34.

In the initial stages of its work, the Advisory Council on Racial Unity intends to focus on racial discrimination between people of white and African backgrounds, encouraging a diverse array of BahaiTeachings.org writers to weigh in with their opinions on the pressing issues facing these two groups in the United States and elsewhere. That limited initial focus, prompted by Shoghi Effendi’s admonitions to both black and white people, will attempt to reflect his kind, loving advice:

Let neither think that anything short of genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort, can succeed in blotting out the stain which this patent evil has left on the fair name of their common country. Let them rather believe, and be firmly convinced, that on their mutual understanding, their amity, and sustained cooperation, must depend, more than on any other force or organization operating outside the circle of their Faith, the deflection of that dangerous course so greatly feared by Abdu’l‑Baha, and the materialization of the hopes He cherished for their joint contribution to the fulfillment of that country’s glorious destiny. – Ibid., pp. 40-41.

With our limited resources, this initial effort is not intended to address every race-related issue at this juncture—but we do anticipate that the efforts of the Advisory Council on Racial Unity will gradually expand, in both their scope and their range, to address the oppression faced by indigenous peoples, immigrants and other marginalized peoples around the globe. Of course BahaiTeachings.org enthusiastically encourages and welcomes contributions that address those subject areas at any time.