Saturday, September 19, 2015

What People Care About This Week: Ahmed Mohamed

For this post I'm gonna have to ask all of you to not put on your Social Justice Warrior t-shirt, form your own opinion, be honest, and realize that things are not the way they used to be. A few days ago a 14 year old student in Irving, Texas named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a home made alarm clock to school. His teacher freaked out thinking it was a bomb, just like I would've, and called the police which led to his arrest. “I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression from it” Ahmed said after being released from a detention center to his parents.

The school, MacArthur High School, said that they are willing to allow Ahmed to return to the school but the family does not want him there and deciding where he'll go instead. The internet has started the hashtags #IstandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed because that is what the world does now. President Barack Obama even invited him to the White House. Why? I'm not sure. I'm really not.

Even as I write this I am thinking of so many people in the news that would have loved to meet the president that suffered tragedies, soldiers that have lost limbs and their minds, their families, and people who have lost their livelihoods due to all kinds of crazy things in this country. None of them have met the president. A kid that was arrested for making an alarm clock that looked like a bomb will. Go figure.

The school has defended what it did stating “We do stand behind what the teacher did. Even though that particular item did not pose an immediately dangerous situation to the school, we cannot allow items on campus that can be perceived to pose a threat.” His three day suspension is still in place. The school also issued a memo to parents and to use this incident as an “...opportunity to talk with your child about the Student Code of Conduct and specifically not bringing items to school that are prohibited. This is a good time to remind your child how important it is to immediately report any suspicious items and/or suspicious behavior.”

Was this a case of Islamophobia (“dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force”)? I know I'm in the minority here when I say this, but I do not think so. Sure, his entire name does not help combined with what it looks like he brought to school. I'm not blind. I know how people think. A kid named Ahmed shows up to school with what appears to be a bomb in todays world where kids kill each other the way me and others threw rocks and a teacher isn't supposed to freak out? A few weeks ago I was late for work because there was a suspicious package on the corner of Laurel Canyon & Ventura Blvd. Turned out it was VCR parts. Looked nothing like a bomb. What he made looked just like one.

This does not look anything like what's on your nightstand. 

To me this was a huge misunderstanding that could've been handled with a short conversation the previous day. Tell the teacher you made an alarm clock and wanted to show it to her. Then she could say whether or not that was necessary. That way you're not arrested, suspended for three days, and changing schools. I don't like how quickly people jumped on the hate wagon. When a Black guy is shot by cops I wait to hear the whole story. Why? To gather facts. I don't think he is innocent because he is Black and cops beat and kill guys my skin color.

We live in a world where we just had the fourteen year anniversary of an attack on our country that this kid happens to be in close proximity to the nationality that did it. We are currently murdering thousands of people that look like this kid at this moment. Do you honestly think that didn't cross that teachers mind when she saw what looked like a damned bomb in her classroom? Pretend for a moment that you are a free thinking individual and not a sheep that jumps on every social issue that is popular for the week and ask yourself what you'd do in her situation. There's a difference between racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, and being extremely cautious. 

Click here for previous What People Care About This Week.  

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