I am challenged by both the Black and Jewish communities.My Jewish peers have asked why they should be concerned with the killing of a Black kid here in our community.
So we had the following conversation (because we're both so into black-Jewish dialogue): Jeffrey Goldberg: Why do people go outside their groups to look for mates? Ta-Nehisi Coates: I think most men I know, to some extent, have this thing with what's exotic.Once I came to New York, a lot of the dudes here had this thing about Asian girls - they were just the new exotic "other." At the same time, nationalism has become such a powerful, and yet subtle, force in the lives of young black people that that sort of exoticism was kind of frowned on. The father with the Ben Shahn drawings." She responds by saying, "I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype."Let me tell you, as someone who went to socialist Zionist summer camp in the Catskills, and whose parents would have bought Ben Shahn drawings if they could have afforded them, that, like Alvy Singer, I found girls like these more than insufficiently exotic.This was especially true when it came to black men and white women. In fact, I didn't really date any Jews until I moved to Israel, where Jews are pretty much unavoidable.Do they see an individual who does not fit their narrow view of what it is to be a Jew, or what it is to be a person of color? Louis or working with various lay leaders to address issues of diversity and inclusion in their congregations. In the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO (just minutes away from my house in St.Louis) and the rise of deadly attacks on Jews around the world (particularly in places such as France), I find myself acting as an unwanted but far too often solicited spokesperson for both the communities I represent.