Last Wednesday Jalale left the gym to meet a couple of girlfriends for drinks and a bite to eat at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. It was a casual send-off for a member of the trio who was leaving for London in a few days and Jalale, hair slightly disheveled after a workout, tossed on her Make America Great Again hat before entering the restaurant. They got a table on the rooftop and ordered a round of beers and some appetizers.
“We’re three black girls, all professionals, and one of my girlfriends says, ‘please don’t wear that hat. We don’t want any crap today,’” Jalale says, laughing. She took it off and set it on the table in front of her. Although her friends “absolutely hate Trump,” she says they still manage to put politics aside and get along. But a table of young men sitting next to Jalale also noticed the hat, and began antagonizing Jalale.
“They were saying I’m a disgrace, that I don’t know who I am, all this stuff as if they even know me,” Jalale, 30, says. “And I was digging deep into them to really get an understanding as to why they have so much hate for Trump. This happens all the time. Can I just wear a hat, please? I don’t want to deliver a political dissertation every time I leave my house. I just like Trump, O.K.?”
She says the exchange was civil and after they’d finished up and paid the ladies headed out, stopping off at the downstairs bar for a quick shot before going home. As they held their shot glasses an employee of the restaurant, called Cowboy Slims, barrelled down the stars, shouting at the women, “Hey! You’re cut off! Just because you were cut off upstairs doesn’t mean you can come downstairs to drink!” he yelled. The women looked at each other confused, believing he had mistaken them for another group. They’d only had one beer each earlier. “You either take the shot right now or get the hell out,” the man shouted, then snatched the glasses from their hands and began to escort the women to the door. At this time the group of men who’d engaged them earlier also came down the stairs and noticed the commotion.
“Oh, shit. It’s because of the hat, isn’t it?” one said, and the employee, who identified himself as a manager, nodded affirmatively and gave the man an approving hand gesture. The men then began pumping their fists and chanting, “Black power!”
Uploaded by MILO on 2018-09-06.
Jalale was rattled. It had been an intense month, all because of one little patriotic hat, and this was the final straw. In early August she traveled to Portland, Ore. for her nephew’s birthday. The trip happened to coincide with a conservative rally held there called the Patriot Prayer, which received national attention. Jalale thought she’d check it out while in town and sat near the festivities donning her red cap. She was immediately surrounded by a mob of lefties, hurling questions at her like a bunch of whirling dervishes. Jalale remained calm.
‘I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE SAFE’ dangerous.com
“It was a bunch of white girls telling a black girl what to think. I thought, this is surreal. This isn’t America.” Then a black clad, masked antifa protestor darted towards her and attempted to steal the hat. She blocked him and he punched Jalale in the face. “I’m telling you, literally, the punch felt like marshmallows. I’m, like, you can’t even punch good. This is disgusting,” she laughs. He snatched the hat and she popped up to chase him. She later caught on camera the same antifa thug punching another woman. She says a group of police officers stood nearby watching the entire exchange. She yelled for them to help her, but they didn’t budge.
“YOU ARE GONNA HAVE TO GO TO CHURCH SEVEN DAYS A WEEK … THEY’RE GONNA TURN YOU INTO A BREEDER” dangerous.com
Back in Minnesota, Jalale had been dating a new guy. It was going well. The two were building a strong connection but shortly after she returned from Portland, he became perpetually unavailable and then disappeared entirely. A week before the restaurant incident, he noticed they were at the same football game together and texted her to meet up. She asked him what happened to their budding romance.
You’re dumping me because of a hat? You’re a loser. Bye!
“I saw you had a Trump hat in your apartment, and I don’t roll with that,” he told her. She was flabbergasted. “I could see if you just don’t like me anymore, or the sex sucked, or whatever. But you’re literally dumping me because of a hat? I was like, you’re a loser. Bye!”
Jalale is an immigrant. She came to the United States in 1996 while in the fifth grade from her native Ethiopia. “I grew up in a communist country. I know what real fascism and communism is, and when I see little girls saying America is a fascist country, I say, you have no idea.” Back in Ethiopia, she says both her father and uncle had been jailed for practicing Christianity and teaching it in the wrong language. Her father, a pastor, came to the United States to start his own church. Earlier this summer, the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, a man Jalale describes as a Trump-esque reformer, came to the U.S. and met with Vice President Pence. He also made a stop in Minnesota, and before speaking to a crowd of Ethiopian immigrants there Jalale’s father delivered a prayer.
Black immigrants are a small but rapidly growing percentage of the U.S. population. Since 2000, black immigration from Africa has soared 137 per cent, to nearly 1.4 million Americans. When compared to immigration over all, foreign-born blacks are more likely to be U.S. citizens and more likely to be proficient in English than other immigrants, according to Pew Research. Foreign-born blacks from Africa are also more likely than the overall U.S. population to have a college degree. They also are more likely to be married and on average earn about $10,000 a year more than U.S.-born blacks. Despite being “blacker” by many accounts, black immigrants do far better economically and socially in the U.S. than their slavery-descended counterparts.
Most black immigrants are from the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica and Haiti, but a recent study found that all black immigrants were more likely to vote Republican than native born blacks, with Haitians accounting for the most likely group to go conservative. Perhaps the Clinton Foundation had something to do with that🤷🏿♀️. The only Haitian-American in Congress, Mia Love of Utah’s Fourth District, is a Republican. Florida is home to the largest black immigrant population in the country, and they increasingly have the power to swing elections since they go against the expected voting pattern of other black Americans.
A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Education found that black immigrants vastly outnumber native born blacks on the college campus, with first and second generation black representation in top U.S. universities at twice the rate found in the general population. Within the Ivy League, black immigrant students make up a whopping 41 per cent of black freshmen, despite being less than nine per cent of the overall black population. African American Studies departments at top schools are often dominated by scholars who are black immigrants, and not African American. It’s “as if any black student will do,” as a scholar remarked, and diversity quotas meant to fix perceived racial injustices in America actually still leave native born blacks in the dust. Top schools no longer check what kind of black a prospective student is, just if they have the right skin color to fill the quota.
Jalale grew up in a large, conservative, Christian family, values she retained until going away to college, where she says her brain became warped by the suffocating atmosphere of liberalism surrounding her. “I flipped completely after college to being liberal,” she says. “I forgot who I was. I forgot what made me the hardworking person I had been all along. I came out of college disillusioned, not hopeful about the future, and hating people in general. It’s really hard to remember what made me change back, but the moment I saw things for what they were, which was less than a year ago, I could never go back. It was an actual evolution that happened in my mind, body, and soul,” she says.
I forgot who I was … I came out of college disillusioned, not hopeful about the future, and hating people
After the girls were kicked out of Cowboy Slims, they went to another restaurant down the road. Jalale, who’d always been a tough, no bullshit girl, finally reached her breaking point. Between the assault in Portland, the break-up, and enduring months of friends and family whispering behind her back, questioning her mental health, and going into hysterics each time she posted something remotely political on Instagram, Jalale broke down in tears.
“For the first time, I thought, is it even really worth it? Maybe I should just shut up and be quiet,” she says. “At this point I’ve been called a ‘coon’ so many times, I might as well be one. I don’t even know what a ‘coon’ is.”
Jalale is adamant that she doesn’t want the restaurant to suffer any negative consequences because of the incident, which she blames on one bad employee. She doesn’t agree with boycotts or harassment campaigns. She’s reached out to the general manager who is willing to speak with her, she says, and they are currently trying to arrange a time to meet.
“I’m not going to let this go. I work in customer service, I know how to follow up,” she says. “I’m not petty, but this kind of stuff is happening to people way too often.”
As for her spirits, they are on the rise, even if occasionally there are bad days. The other day she caught Kanye West giving an interview on the radio and he was discussing his decision to wear a MAGA hat. “He explained, it was a ‘fuck you’ to anybody telling him what to think and who to be. I was inspired again seeing that interview and hearing him talk about the hat,” she says.
“This thing happens when you suddenly take accountability for yourself, one hundred per cent. and even if your situation is kind of shitty, you can still feel completely liberated. I can’t blame anyone else for any of my problems. It’s amazing. I wish everyone could feel that way.”
Chadwick Moore is a journalist and political commentator, currently working on his first book. He tweets at @Chadwick_Moore.
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