Lucidity and Racism (Beyond 18)

Yesterday’s post warned of the dangers of “pretension to total lucidity,” a concept based on Zornberg’s commentary on the Book of Numbers. (See also quote, citation.) Today, Race Forward released a series of videos responding to the query, “Systemic Racism: Is that really a thing?” — a key element of “lucidity.”

Systemic Racism: Is that really a thing?
Systemic Racism: Is that really a thing?

Race Forward, formerly Applied Research Center, has been researching racism and pushing conversations about it since 1981. Its publication, Colorlines, covers “stories from the perspective of community, rather than through the lens of power brokers,” with breaking news, investigative reporting, and dispatches. Jay Smooth is Race Forward’s video and multimedia producer — a cultural commentator with a gift for succinctly addressing complex issues. (See also “Oppression as ‘Normal'” for more from Smooth.)

Looking at each entry in the new series about Systemic Racism, I found myself asking: How will this move the conversation forward? Those who see this, see it already, and who else will take the time to look at the videos? But the video below (separate from the series) cogently explains how Race Forward’s examination of news found that much of it (2/3 of stories examined) “fails to be systemically aware.” Exploring this can only improve our societal “lucidity.” (the related 2014 report)

We counted 18 on the evening of April 21. 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.

A Meditation

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 nineteen days which are two weeks and five days in the Omer.
Hayom shishah asar yom shehaym shnay shavuot ushnay 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.

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

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