The Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith, in their talks, tablets and letters, used terminology that was common and acceptable at the time. The Writings of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh,`Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice together form the authoritative cannon of Bahá’í Writings. Below is only a small selection of writings:
One Human Race
“Close your eyes to racial differences and welcome all with the light of oneness.”
All humanity are the children of God; they belong to the same family, to the same original race…This signifies that racial assumption and distinction are nothing but superstition…All these in the presence of God are equal; they are of one race and creation; God did not make these divisions. These distinctions have had their origin in man himself. Therefore, as they are against the plan and purpose of reality, they are false and imaginary. We are of one physical race, even as we are of one physical plan of material body — each endowed with two eyes, two ears, one head, two feet.
(Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 299)
World order can be founded only on an unshakable consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth which all the human sciences confirm. Anthropology, physiology, psychology, recognize only one human species, albeit infinitely varied in the secondary aspects of life. Recognition of this truth requires abandonment of prejudice — prejudice of every kind — race, class, color, creed, nation, sex, degree of material civilization, everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others.
(The Universal House of Justice, Oct 1985, The Promise of World Peace)
Pupil of the Eye:
Bahá’u’lláh…once compared the colored people to the black pupil of the eye surrounded by the white. In this black pupil is seen the reflection of that which is before it, and through it the light of the spirit shineth forth.
(`Abdu’l-Bahá, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 31)
Unity in Diversity:
So Powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.
We stand for unity through diversity and we hold in contempt every attempt at uniformity or at complete separateness.
(On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, The Pupil of the Eye, p. 71)
To discriminate against any race, on the ground of its being socially backward, politically immature, and numerically in a minority, is a flagrant violation of the spirit that animates the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.
(Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 35)
The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Bahá’u’lláh, implies that establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united…It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethical origins, of climate, of history, of language and traditions, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race.
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, 203, 41-42)
The Abolishing of Slavery:
It is forbidden you to trade in slaves, be they men or women. It is not for him who is himself a servant to buy another of God’s servants, and this hath been prohibited in His Holy Tablet. Thus, by His mercy, hath the commandment been recorded by the Pen of justice. Let no man exalt himself above another; all are but bondslaves before the Lord, and all exemplify the truth that there is none other God but Him.
(Bahá’u’lláh, written circa 1873, p. 45, x72)