Marrying black was just an extension of the whole "buy black" thing. At the same time, I don't think it's the way of the future. Coates, I didn't get pissed off at Jewish women who dated out, only Jewish men.
In retrospect, I guess I felt sorry for the Jewish women who intermarried, because I sensed that they tried, and failed, to convince Jewish men that they weren't, in fact, their mothers, that they were intelligent and sexy and all the rest.
Jewish men who go outside, I think - and this is not everyone, obviously - are looking beyond the tribe not because they really think they're going to end up marrying their mothers if they find a Jewish woman, but because they're scared of Jewish women, especially the intense sort my friends and I all seemed to marry.
There are upsides, of course, to marrying out - all those new and exciting genes, for one thing, and the opportunity to bring someone new into the fold.
And you allude, of course, to the ultimate promise of real integration.
Anyway, it's complicated, and I'm getting the sense you believe, as I do, that blacks and Jews have a lot more in common than lactose intolerance and hard-to-manage hair.
Ta-Nehisi has been saying some interesting things about relations between black men and women, and I thought I was hearing echoes of arguments from inside the Jewish 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.
When I was kid in West Baltimore, we prized the black girls who lived out in Baltimore County - they were white girls before there were any white girls.
They were supposed to be more refined and more classy. You probably weren't even alive when Woody Allen made "Annie Hall" (a.k.a "It Had to be Jew" and "Me and My Goy"), but Alison Portchnik was Alvy Singer's first wife, the one he describes so famously as "New York Jewish, left-wing, liberal intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, socialist summer camps.
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.