It is difficult for the friends always to remember that in matter[s] where race enters, a hundred times more consideration and wisdom in handling situations is necessary than when an issue is not complicated by this factor. (Shoghi Effendi, Pupil of the Eye, p. 87)
Even though Baha’u’llah called for the removal of prejudice nearly 200 years ago, and even though important progress has been made, it’s puzzling to me that racial tensions seem to be increasing rather than decreasing. When we love and value the diversity in the animal and plant kingdoms, what makes us see the variations in skin tones in the human kingdom any different?
Both sides have prejudices to overcome. Here’s what Shoghi Effendi tells us has to be done:
Let the white man:
- make a supreme effort in their resolve to contribute their share to the solution of this problem
- abandon once for all their usually inherent and at times subconscious sense of superiority
- correct their tendency towards revealing a patronizing attitude towards the members of the other race
- persuade them through their intimate, spontaneous and informal association with them of the genuineness of their friendship and the sincerity of their intentions
- master their impatience of any lack of responsiveness on the part of a people who have received, for so long a period, such grievous and slow-healing wounds.
Let the Negroes, through a corresponding effort on their part show by every means in their power:
- the warmth of their response
- their readiness to forget the past
- their ability to wipe out every trace of suspicion that may still linger in their hearts and minds.
Let neither think that:
- the solution of so vast a problem is a matter that exclusively concerns the other
- such a problem can either easily or immediately be resolved
- they can wait confidently for the solution of this problem until the initiative has been taken, and the favorable circumstances created, by agencies that stand outside the orbit of their Faith
- 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-Bahá, and the materialization of the hopes He cherished for their joint contribution to the fulfillment of that country’s glorious destiny. (Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 40)
We’ve got a lot of work to do, but now we know what our marching orders consist of, and what exactly has to be done to show “a hundred times more consideration and wisdom” than we have in the past.
Knowing there is something concrete I can do to eliminate prejudice, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Learning How to Forgive