Breathing Together: Building Race Unity Every Day

The following summary is extracted from Race Unity: It’s In Our DNA to see the full article, or to find similar articles related to this subject please visit www.bahaiteachings.org for more information.

DNA has changed how we should see ourselves in relation to each other, and what we think of as home. Now we can actually see that the Earth is our common homeland, and we are all global villagers. Ultimately, we should realize that there is really only one human race since we are among the most genetically similar of all species. The external differences we observe daily are literally only skin deep. Eighty-five percent of all human variation exists within, not between, any social population.

As we integrate this new understanding of DNA and this common code in our genes, our worldview should shift, too. The idea that there are many human “races” in reality is an illusion—we are all members of one human family.

The social construct of race was created to separate us, resulting in humanity becoming splintered into many groups and communities, even though we have always in our historical past been nomads, wanderers, and migrants on this Earth. The more we began to spread out as a species, this distance increased and allowed for our false sense of superiority, and due to this erroneous belief in racial difference, it has now come to dominate our thinking, and we began to see our differences of color as differences in kind.

Arbitrarily dividing the world into different “races” was learned; so we can—and must—unlearn it. We need to replace it with the scientific and spiritual reality that humanity is a diverse but unified whole. We are one species, not many:

All are one people, one nation, one species, one kind. The common interest is complete equality … Times are changed, and the need and fashion of the world are changed. … justice and equal dealing towards all peoples on the face of the earth are the means whereby progress is effected. – Abdu’l-BahaA Traveler’s Narrative, p. 86.

The Baha’i teachings provide a fitting metaphor to apply this understanding to our own lives:

Consider the flowers of a garden: though differing in kind, colour, form and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm, and addeth unto their beauty…How unpleasing to the eye if all the flowers and plants, the leaves and blossoms, the fruits, the branches and the trees of that garden were all of the same shape and colour! Diversity of hues, form and shape, enricheth and adorneth the garden, and heighteneth the effect thereof. In like manner, when divers shades of thought, temperament and character, are brought together under the power and influence of one central agency, the beauty and glory of human perfection will be revealed and made manifest. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 291-292.

In order to fully achieve unity in diversity and realize the spiritual and material potential latent in our very creation, we must put these ideas and theories into practice. It’s not enough to just acknowledge the harmony of science and religion, we must find ways to integrate these spiritual and scientific truths into our lives and day to day actions.

The only force that can eliminate all forms of prejudice is love. From the Civil Rights movements of the past two centuries to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we are seeing a new societal trend toward compassion, unity, and justice.