Showing Up POTE
An Article by Barbara Talley
What is POTE? POTE is an acronym for “pupil of the eye which is an ennobling designation and description for people of African descent.” This divinely ordained, elevating, and healing title unifies all black people who were separated during the diaspora and replaces all the limiting, debilitating, and man-made labels with a one of power and purpose.
The pupil of the eye designation completely negates the anti-blackness ideology that has poisoned most of the minds on the globe and relegated black people to a position of permanent second-class citizens. Black people have been denigrated, colonized, dehumanized, discriminated against, stolen, beaten, and in far too many cases broken, emasculated, and neutered. Those who remember who they are, are often ostracized and labeled as angry, militant, and scary. While those who forget in order to fit in become neutered, stockholm-ized, and token-ized.
Bahá’u’lláh came to restore dignity to a people who have been downtrodden and abased for over four centuries. Bahá’u’lláh, referred to by some as “the first black lives activist,” came to dispense justice. The Bible has been proclaiming the “the meek shall inherit the earth”, and “the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Bahá’u’lláh quoting the Quran shares that is is the Will of God to “show favor to those who have been brought low in the land.”
Clearly God is just and justice comes in it’s own time. This is the Day for which Christ prophesied that the Kingdom of God would be “on earth, as it is on heaven.” No one would suggest that the war, devastation, greed, materialism, gender and racial prejudice that we see is the Will of God. No! What we see around us is the tearing down of the old world order and the building of a kingdom based on justice and divine principles. So, who is last and how does the Creator dispense justice, by making the “the last shall be first.”
So, what does it mean to “show up POTE? It means to show up as light, as a wellspring of light, for through us, “the light of the spirit shineth forth.” We have to be willing to let go of our earthly titles, descriptions, and labels, whether racial, class, ethnic, etc. and put on a new mantle, that of a favored station. The ”pupil of the eye” is a favored station that is fraught with responsibility, sacrifice, and complete deference to the Will of God.
In America, and in many places in the world, our color shows up before and has greater influence than our character and capacity. Because this anti-blackness ideology has warped reality, poisoned minds, and prejudiced the majority of the planet, those of us melanin-rich people have to be on guard and ever vigilant, to not allow the powerful to steal our power. Fortunately justice is the Will of God and we have help.
Say: Beware, O people of Baha, lest the strong ones of the earth rob you of your strength, or they who rule the world fill you with fear. Put your trust in God, and commit your affairs to His keeping. He, verily, will, through the power of truth, render you victorious, and He, verily, is powerful to do what He willeth, and in His grasp are the reins of omnipotent might.
(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, “The Advent of Divine Justice” p. 82)
(Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 137)
“Bahá’u’lláh once compared the coloured people to the black pupil of the eye surrounded by the white. In this black pupil you see the reflection of that which is before it, and through it the light of the Spirit shines forth.“1(Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 68)
Bahá’u’lláh put the very people who are the most despised and oppressed at the center of his ministry, the center of sight, placed them in the position of the pupil of the eye, the very source of light. And humanity that is “surrounded by darkness”, must reckon with its ignoble past and recognize the station of the black pupil for its very salvation.
In another space we talk about “favor”. There is a price for this favor, absolute obedience and submission to the Will of God.
Say, Our power could not be hindered and Our authority will never be annulled; We elevate whom We please to the glory of might and power; then bring him back, should We will, to the lowest of the low.” 2
1. (Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 68)
2. (Provisional Translations, Suratu’l-Haykal )
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