One­ness of hu­man­ity will elim­i­nate racism

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE - Can racism be elim­i­nated? Hu­man di­ver­sity Di­ver­sity en­riches hu­man fam­ily

RACIAL dis­crim­i­na­tion has been di­vid­ing com­mu­ni­ties and un­der­min­ing so­cial co­he­sion. It is the Bahá’í view that we can­not achieve race rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with­out em­brac­ing hu­man di­ver­sity and that we can­not have so­cial jus­tice so long as prej­u­dice blocks rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Cur­rent world up­heavals and prob­lems are a by-prod­uct of prej­u­dice. Prej­u­dices of all kinds – in­clud­ing racial, na­tional, eth­nic, re­li­gious, gen­der-based and those of eco­nomic sta­tus – have been the main causes of di­vi­sion, ha­tred, war­fare and blood­shed in hu­man his­tory.

Remedies to such prej­u­dices must “ad­dress first and fore­most those men­tal il­lu­sions that have for so many thou­sands of years given rise to false con­cepts of su­pe­ri­or­ity and in­fe­ri­or­ity among hu­man pop­u­la­tions,” as­serts the state­ment of the Bahá’í In­ter­na­tional Com­mu­nity (BIC) to the World Con­fer­ence on Racism, Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion, Xeno­pho­bia and Re­lated In­tol­er­ance in Dur­ban in 2001. The above para­graph from the state­ment of the BIC starts with this sen­tence: “Racism orig­i­nates not in the skin but in the hu­man mind.”

At the root of all forms of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and in­tol­er­ance is the er­ro­neous idea that hu­mankind is some­how com­posed of sep­a­rate and dis­tinct races, peo­ples or castes, and that those sub-groups in­her­ently pos­sess vary­ing in­tel­lec­tual, moral, and/or phys­i­cal ca­pac­i­ties, which in turn jus­tify dif­fer­ent forms of treat­ment.

The re­al­ity is that there is only one hu­man race. We are one peo­ple, one hu­man fam­ily in­hab­it­ing the planet Earth. The re­al­ity of hu­man one­ness is fully en­dorsed by science. An­thro­pol­ogy, phys­i­ol­ogy, psy­chol­ogy, so­ci­ol­ogy and ge­net­ics all con­firm that there is only one hu­man species, although in­fin­itely var­ied in the sec­ondary as­pects of life.

In the Bahá’í view, racism will be elim­i­nated only when the peo­ples of the world are con­vinced of the one­ness of hu­mankind and pro­ceed to re­con­struct their lives and their so­ci­eties on that ba­sis. The prin­ci­ple of hu­man one­ness is not just an­other vague hope or slo­gan but re­flects, rather, an eter­nal spir­i­tual, moral and phys­i­cal re­al­ity.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of ap­pro­pri­ate le­gal mea­sures that safe­guard the ob­ser­vance of hu­man rights and op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one is an­other re­quire­ment.

Just as fever is a symp­tom of dis­ease in the body, racism is a symp­tom of dis­ease in so­ci­ety. Sup­press­ing the symp­tom does not cure the dis­ease, but cur­ing the dis­ease elim­i­nates the symp­tom. The dis­ease from which so­ci­ety cur­rently suf­fers is the fail­ure to recog­nise the prin­ci­ple of the one­ness of hu­man­ity – and racism is just a symp­tom of this.

“The prin­ci­ple of the one­ness of hu­mankind,” in the Bahá’í view, “lies at the heart of the ex­hor­ta­tion that we should treat oth­ers as we our­selves would wish to be treated. To es­tab­lish jus­tice, peace and or­der in an in­ter­de­pen­dent world, this prin­ci­ple must guide all in­ter­ac­tions…”

Be­sides, hu­man na­ture is fun­da­men­tally spir­i­tual. Although hu­man be­ings ex­ist on earth in phys­i­cal bod­ies, the es­sen­tial iden­tity of each per­son is de­fined by an in­vis­i­ble, ra­tio­nal, and ev­er­last­ing soul and “… the ra­tio­nal soul has no gen­der, race, eth­nic­ity or class, a fact that ren­ders in­tol­er­a­ble all forms of prej­u­dice”.

“Close your eyes to racial dif­fer­ences,” is Bahá’u’lláh’s coun­sel, “and wel­come all with the light of one­ness”.

The unity that must be at the ba­sis of cre­at­ing a peace­ful and just so­cial or­der, in the Bahá’í view, is a unity which em­braces and hon­ours di­ver­sity. One­ness and di­ver­sity are com­ple­men­tary and in­sep­a­ra­ble. It is not by sup­pres­sion of dif­fer­ences that one will ar­rive at unity but, rather, by an in­creased aware­ness of, and re­spect for, the val­ues of each cul­ture, and in­deed of each in­di­vid­ual.

The Bahá’í Writ­ings state: “Ev­ery hu­man crea­ture is the ser­vant of God. All have been cre­ated and reared by the power and favour of God; all have been blessed with the boun­ties of the same Sun of di­vine truth; all have quaffed from the foun­tain of the in­fi­nite mercy of God; and all in His es­ti­ma­tion and love are equal as ser­vants.

“He is benef­i­cent and kind to all. There­fore, no one should glo­rify him­self over an­other; no one should man­i­fest pride or su­pe­ri­or­ity to­ward an­other; no one should look upon an­other with scorn and con­tempt; and no one should de­prive or op­press a fel­low crea­ture.”

The Bahá’í Writ­ings state: “Love ye all re­li­gions and all races with a love that is true and sin­cere and show that love through deeds and not through the tongue; for the lat­ter hath no im­por­tance, as the ma­jor­ity of men are, in speech, well-wish­ers, while ac­tion is the best.” The dif­fer­ences in the hu­man fam­ily are what make the world a more beau­ti­ful place to live in. The great wealth of cul­tural di­ver­sity achieved over thou­sands of years is nec­es­sary to the de­vel­op­ment of the hu­man race. It is a her­itage that en­riches us all.

Dif­fer­ences are not only in the hu­man fam­ily, but are ap­par­ent through­out the whole of na­ture. A beau­ti­ful gar­den is nor­mally made of flow­ers of dif­fer­ent colours, charm and beauty, and shrubs and trees of dif­fer­ent types and sizes.

The Baha’i Writ­ings state: “The di­ver­sity in the hu­man fam­ily should be the cause of love and har­mony, as it is in mu­sic where many dif­fer­ent notes blend to­gether in the mak­ing of a per­fect chord.”

It em­pha­sises that “If you meet those of dif­fer­ent race and colour from your­self, do not mis­trust them… Think of them as dif­fer­ent coloured roses grow­ing in the beau­ti­ful gar­den of hu­man­ity, and re­joice to be among them”.

Great wealth of cul­tural di­ver­sity is a her­itage that en­riches us all

Flora Teckie is an ar­chi­tect who loves study­ing and writ­ing about so­cially rel­e­vant is­sues

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