Having gone through the stages of infancy and turbulent adolescence, humanity is now approaching maturity, a stage that will witness “the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world – a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of life. …”

In no other country is the promise of organic unity more immediately demonstrable than in the United States, because this country is a microcosm of the diverse populations of the earth. Yet this promise remains largely unrealized even here because of the endemic racism that, like cancer, is corroding the vitals of the nation.

For too much of its history and in so many places, the human race has squandered its energy and resources in futile efforts to prove the unprovable: that one portion of itself, because of separation by geography, a difference in skin color or the diversity of cultural expression, is intrinsically distinct from another portion.

The ignorance and prejudice on which such efforts are founded have led to endless conflicts in the name of the sanctity of tribe, race, class, nation and religion. Paradoxical as it might seem, in the consistency of the negative efforts across the spectrum of race, humanity has proved the exact opposite: It has affirmed its oneness.

The proof is in the fact that, given the same circumstances, all people, regardless of ethnic or cultural variety, behave essentially the same way. In the futility of its efforts to classify and separate its diverse elements, humanity has become disoriented and confused. Unaided by the divine influence of religion, people are incapable of achieving a proper orientation to their innermost reality and purpose and are thus unable to achieve a coherent vision of their destiny.

It is in this respect that the Baha’is find relevancy, direction and fulfillment in the teachings of Baha’u’llah, the founder of their faith.

The oneness of humanity is a spiritual truth abundantly confirmed by science. Recognition of this truth compels the abandonment of all prejudices of race, color, creed, nation and class – of “everything which enable people to consider themselves superior to others.”

The principle of the oneness of humankind “is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope. … It does not constitute merely the enunciation of an ideal. … It implies on organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced.”

(Part 2 in a series on “The Vision of Race Unity America’s Most Challenging Issue,” 1991. Printed with permission of copyright holder National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States with all rights reserved.)

Annette Reynolds has served in many capacities as a member of the Bahá’í Faith. She is the author of “Trudy and the Bahá’ís Spiritual Path in S.C.” and “Survivors Thrive: A view of the Battered Women’s Movement.” She is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact her and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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