Tense Alliance

A conversation with the makers of Blacks and Jews, a highlight of the 17th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Kaufman: I prefer to look at it as post-identity politics rather than anti-identity politics, because I don't think you can come back to the ideal of coalition politics until after having been through some kind of affirmation of yourself.

Snitow: The analogy that we've often used is that Martin Luther King Jr.'s immediate circle around him included a Jewish left-wing businessman who many think was a member of the Communist Party, Stanley Levison; Ella Baker, who was a very powerful and experienced organizer, who was difficult for male chauvinist clergy to accept; and Bayard Rustin, a gay man, a pacifist. King's brilliance was to bring all these individuals around him. But they had to stay in the background because of who they were -- because their identities as Jews, leftists, gays, women, were too controversial. I don't think you can have that anymore. And I think that's a positive thing. A new movement that tries to move toward coalition is going to have to be based on the possibility that people are openly what they are.

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