Racial Bias: Is It Wrong to Not Want “Those People”?


I love Yogananda, I like Ananda and the song of the last YT-Video is so lovely (Paramhansa Y. said: Immortalize Our Teaching in Architecture). But I struggle with immigration. As a child and adolescent I experienced much anti-German hate from Arabian migrants. And all over Europe these groups are not very well -iked. They seclude themselves, are into crime, and don’t do good in school. Is it bad to don’t want "these people"? I love cultures and exchange, but ... not like this.

—Simon Brenken, Germany


Dear Simon,

I feel for your dilemma. Start by not placing all of “them” into the same box. They aren’t all criminals, obviously. They love their children and want to work hard and support themselves and their families like everyone else. Why let the prejudice of others prejudice you? If some dislike Germans, it’s because they suffer from the same ignorance of who Germans are — as you might about who they are. It’s just because we look different, have different languages and customs, and are perhaps suspicious of one another out of ignorance.

That doesn’t deny the social and economic reality, in your country or elsewhere, that immigration can introduce problems into the local society. But immigration also tends to bring fresh “blood” and enterprise and energy into a country. Intermarriages eventually take place, and future generations begin to integrate into the society and make their own contributions. In other words, it’s not all good or all bad. That’s the point. There are German criminals and Arab criminals; German nobility and Arab nobility (in spirit, not title).

But your question is, in essence, a spiritual one, not a social one. True, your own upbringing and experience has tainted your response to this group of people. But you are aware of this bias, so instead practice re-directing any negative thoughts or feelings into the higher octave of God’s love for their souls: equally as divine as your very own.

Racial prejudice is deeply embedded into generations throughout the world. It’s not merely a “German” problem. Everywhere it’s the same. Society is growing out of this superficial prejudice as we integrate globally through travel, education, and awareness. Maybe someday we’ll all be the same color and speak one universal language (a thousand years from now?). In any case, no matter our skin or our language, our souls are pure and blissful!

So when these feelings arise, stop and offer them “up to God” for purification. Then bless them by name, image, form or word as children of our one Father, Mother, Beloved-Friend, God.

I remember a story from the life of Gandhi — during the communal rioting in India after Independence. When asked by a partisan what he could do to absolve his “sin” of hatred for Muslims, Gandhi told the man to raise a Muslim child orphaned by the killing of his parents by Hindus. Raise him as a devout Muslim. Wow…can you imagine that? Well, why not begin to take steps to meet some of the immigrants and befriend at least one. Get to know them in an authentic and meaningful and mutually beneficial way. A tall order that may or may not be practical for you, but think about it.

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA