The Baha’i teachings describe humanity as one extended family:
Let us leave the discordant arguments concerning outward forms, and let us join together to hasten forward the Divine Cause of unity, until all humanity knows itself to be one family, joined together in love. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks.
Sadly, our human history, customs, cultures and practices do not usually reinforce this noble goal – or the scientifically proven concept that humanity is one family and that humans are 99.9% genetically the same.
No man-made force can create and maintain that conscious reality – that humans comprise one global community, our destinies meshed together. The Baha’i teachings say that only a widespread spiritual awakening and the resultant maturation of human consciousness can make that universal realization happen:
It is self-evident that the unity of the human world and the Most Great Peace cannot be accomplished through material means. They cannot be established through political power, for the political interests of nations are various and the policies of peoples are divergent and conflicting. They cannot be founded through racial or patriotic power, for these are human powers, selfish and weak. The very nature of racial differences and patriotic prejudices prevents the realization of this unity and agreement.
Therefore, it is evidenced that the promotion of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which is the essence of the teachings of all the Manifestations of God, is impossible except through the divine power and breaths of the Holy Spirit. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace.
But tragically, despite all the technological advances humanity has made, the color of a person’s skin still puts them at risk of brutality, injustice, economic and social discrimination, healthcare disparities and more. As human beings we put so little stock and faith into our spiritual well-being, when the prophets of every religion have counseled humanity otherwise:
The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his perfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life. – Ibid.
Personally, these human virtues and potentialities, described in the Bible, the Qur’an, and the Baha’i writings, “keep me going” as my grandmother used to say.
Studying and meditating on the best texts on these issues helps to lift my spirits, as a woman of African descent, during these perilous times. Reading books like Shoghi Effendi’s The Advent of Divine Justice and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility give me hope. I believe that as more and more white people truly educate themselves about what The Advent of Divine Justice calls their own “inherent and unconscious sense of superiority,” we will all witness an increased impetus for societal change, for diverse, grassroots individual initiatives towards creating a truly just and diverse society. That’s why these books uplift me spiritually – they help me believe that every human being has a purpose, a spark of the divine, and an infinite capacity to be as Isaiah 63:3 in the Bible says, “the crown of creation,” which we can achieve through knowledge and education.
In this life, our work as human beings involves learning and demonstrating, by word and by deed, that we are worthy of this crown – in how we treat each other, how we treat everyone with respect, dignity and forbearance; and how we remain mindful that, during this brief existence, our active concern, caring, support and assistance for all fellow humans truly forms our “crown:”
Man is the Supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. … Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah.
If you want to wear the crown of creation, and exemplify the true nobility every human soul has within it, you’ll do all you possibly can, everything within your power, to help bring about one human family.