Western Bahá'ís, including many of non-European stock, sometimes complain of the air of racial superiority exhibited by their Iranian bretheren. This ought to surprise no one, for `Abdu'l-Bahá himself was a staunch believer in Iranian racial superiority, in spite of the degraded state of Iran during his lifetime:
It should not be imagined that the people of Persia (the Aryans) are inherently deficient in intelligence, or that for essential perceptiveness and understanding, inborn sagacity, intuition and wisdom, or innate capacity, they are inferior to others. God forbid! On the contrary, they have always excelled all other peoples in endowments conferred by birth.
Secret of Divine Civilization, page 9
It is not at all clear that `Abdu'l-Bahá believed in the racial equality of mankind, much as he did not believe in sexual equality. He asserted many times that men exhibit different mental capacities. The above quote establishes that he believed that such differences in capacity exist between races.
With respect to culture, `Abdu'l-Bahá appears to have believed that civilization was a gift to be imposed upon the aboriginal savages of the world, regardless of the cost:
The black man must ever be grateful to the white man, for he has manifested great courage and self-sacrifice in behalf of the black race. Four years he fought their cause, enduring severe hardships, sacrificing life, family, treasure, all for his black brother until the great war ended in the proclamation of freedom. By this effort and accomplishment the black race throughout the world was influenced and benefited. Had this not been accomplished, the black man in Africa would still be bound by the chains of slavery. Therefore, his race should everywhere be grateful, for no greater evidence of humanism and courageous devotion could be shown than the white man has displayed. If the blacks of the United States forget this sacrifice, zeal and manhood on the part of the whites, no ingratitude could be greater or more censurable. If they could see the wretched conditions and surroundings of the black people of Africa today, the contrast would be apparent and the fact clearly evident that the black race in America enjoys incomparable advantages. The comfort and civilization under which they live here are due to the white man's effort and sacrifice. Had this sacrifice not been made, they would still be in the bonds and chains of slavery, scarcely lifted out of an aboriginal condition. Therefore, always show forth your gratitude to the white man.
The Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 12
It is well-established that the founders of the Bahá'í Faith owned black slaves. Much effort has been made by Bahá'ís to argue that the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh were enlightened slaveholders, however, it is well-known that they retained their slaves as purchased property.
See the book Black Pearls and the book's editor's notes for more information.