As we come to the close of the omer journey week focusing on strength and boundaries, we should at least begin our reflections on the complex intersection of race and gender. My own time at the computer does not permit a long note today (a blessing, perhaps?), so I offer just a few suggestions:
One place to begin is with Zoe Spencer’s short independent film, Epiphany, an insightful and watchable exploration of related issues:
The answer will not be found
in the crooked hook of some misogynistic rap song
…there are far too many mothers crying
for far too many brothers dying
Far too many buying
trying to undue the stain of inferiority
by placing that new platinum noose around our necks
…I have allowed the history of racism
to separate me from my history
— from the introduction to “Epiphany”
Also consider watching or rewatching the powerful documentary on Anita Hill and the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing. There is a lot there to explore, and the anniversary material is quite powerful in its own right.
He had a race.
I had a gender.
— Anita Hill Film
Finally, from Nina Simone again:
…You lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears.
And talk real fine just like a lady.
And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie
Oh but this whole country is full of lies….
— Mississippi Goddam (1964)
Just scratching the surface on our journey from oppression.
We counted 12 on the evening of April 15. Tonight, we count….
Making the Omer Count
from On the Road to Knowing: A Journey Away from Oppression
A key element in the journey from liberation to revelation is understanding the workings of oppression, and our part in them. We cannot work effectively to end what we do not comprehend.
So this year, moving from Passover to Shavuot, I commit to learning more about how oppression works and how liberation is accomplished. I invite others to join me:
Let’s work together, as we count the Omer, to make this Omer count.
Thoughts and sources welcome.
Share this graphic to encourage others to participate.
Aware that we are on a journey toward knowing God — from liberation to revelation — I undertake to know more today than I did yesterday about the workings of oppression.
I bless and count [full Hebrew blessings in feminine and masculine address]:
Blessed are You, God, Ruler/Spirit of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.
Today is thirteen days which are one week and six days in the Omer.
Hayom shloshah asar yom shehaym shavuah echad veshishah yamim la-omer.
In the spirit of the Exodus, I pray for the release of all whose bodies and spirits remain captive, and pledge my own hands to help effect that liberation.