What is race? What is racism? How do they relate, especially as they pertain to Bahá’í teachings on both racial accord and prejudice? There have been nearly eighty years of social scientific advancement on, and illumination of, these issues since Shoghi Effendi wrote in The Advent of Divine Justice that “racial prejudice” is the “most vital and challenging issue confronting the Bahá’í community at the present stage of its evolution” (33–34). Accordingly, I review the concepts of race and racism based on the latest social scientific understanding of them in order to better understand their definition and operation and to delineate their relation to one another. I then consider how these concepts are used in the Writings of the Central Figures and Institution of the Bahá’í Faith and attempt to correlate them with modern social scientific knowledge in order to provide a more nuanced and accurate understanding of them, which in turn may assist with better applications of the Bahá’í teachings to contemporary public discourse.
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Copyright © 2017 Matthew W. Hughey