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The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
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Justice
5 MINS

How Spirituality Helped an Interracial Couple Confront Racism

PRESENTED BY Radiance Talley | Oct 29, 2020
5 MINS

“I had to end up with somebody who would want to change the environment that he lives in.” That’s what Karen Streets Anderson, a Black Baha’i living in Nashville, Tennessee, says about marrying her husband Nolan, who is white. Karen and Nolan met at work and became close through the Baha’i Faith and their efforts to work for social change. She participated in local feminist activities while Nolan joined the NAACP.  “I naturally ended up with someone who traded in a little bit of his white privilege while doing so,” she says.

As Baha'is, they believed, as Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, wrote in 1938:

Casting away once and for all the fallacious doctrine of racial superiority, with all its attendant evils, confusion, and miseries, and welcoming and encouraging the intermixture of races, and tearing down the barriers that now divide them, they should each endeavor, day and night, to fulfill their particular responsibilities in the common task which so urgently faces them.”

In this short clip from “The Race Unity Project,” Karen reflects on some of the challenges that she and her husband faced as an interracial couple — including two incidents of overt discrimination. Karen was not surprised by how people treated them, but Nolan was shocked. 

“I think the nature of my relationship with Nolan has been one in which he has been an eyewitness to the realities of the everyday scenarios [of racism],” Karen says.

Produced by Journalism for Change, Inc, a nonprofit media organization founded by filmmaker and human rights activist Maziar Bahari, “The Race Unity Project” tells “the century-long story of the American Baha’i community and its efforts — as well as its tests and challenges — in promoting race unity.”

Watch as Karen shares some of the experiences that solidified her commitment — and her husband’s — to working for racial justice and unity.

Tags: Marriage , Race , Unity

Radiance Talley is a staff writer at BahaiTeachings.org and a corporate communications associate at One Planet Group. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in communication, a College Park Scholars Arts Citation, and a cognate in journalism. In addition to her writing,...

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