Thus should it be among the children of men! 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. If you meet those of different race and colour from yourself, do not mistrust them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather be glad and show them kindness. Think of them as different coloured roses growing in the beautiful garden of humanity, and rejoice to be among them . . . (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 53-54)
This quote seems to be whole crux of the Bahá’í Writings, where Bahá’u’lláh’s goal is to unite all of mankind. When we truly understand this self-evident truth, we will recognize our oneness. I often wonder why this is so difficult to understand. We love different colours and shapes in a garden. We love the many different species of plants and animals. We love a variety of textures and tastes in our food. We love a variety of notes in music, so why is it so difficult to see different coloured human beings as different? Why do we feel suspicion and mistrust? Why, even in multicultural cities, do we withdraw and hang out with our own “kind”?
It’s easy for me to get caught up in questions like this and spiral into hopeless, helpless despair. Fortunately statistics can help pull me out of this funk. Slowly, we are moving towards Bahá’u’lláh’s great vision. Thanks to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s encouragement of the marriage of Hand of the Cause Louis Gregory, (an African-American man) and Louisa Mathews, (a white British woman) in 1912, interracial marriage is much more common today than ever before. Even though the ban on interracial marriage didn’t end in the US until 1967, many advances have been made since then. Today, 17% of married couples today are interracial. Just a little more than 25 years ago, 63% of nonblack adults opposed interracial marriage. Today, that number is only 14%.
By 2043, the Census Bureau predicts that the United States will become a “majority-minority” country, in which no racial group makes up more than half of the population. As we move closer to a majority-minority status, people of different races will interact more frequently. Please God, let this end the legacy of discrimination.
Knowing that as the world gets smaller, people are embracing cultural differences in many ways, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others