Ah, America. The land of the free, home of the brave and the world of imprisoning people on racial profiling and general nerdery.
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, was arrested for bringing a homemade digital clock to Irving MacArthur High, a high school which Mohamed attends. The school is located in Irving, Texas (doesn’t everything make a whole lot of more sense now?).
On Sunday night, Mohamed built the harmless clock and brought it in to show his engineering teacher. He wanted to demonstrate what he liked to do in his spare time because “none of the teachers know[s] what [he] can do.” He spends most of his spare time building radios and working on his go-kart.
In short, the kid is intelligent and talented. When I was 14, I was discovering how to be the saddest teenager alive (my emo phase aged like a fine wine, people).
Mohamed showed his engineering teacher his homemade clock, and he was impressed. However, the same teacher seemed uneasy as to how other teachers would react. He advised Mohamed “to [not] show any other teachers.” What kind of teacher is that? Mohamed is proud of his homemade clock, and I would be, too. Why did his engineering teacher think it necessary to tell his student that he shouldn’t show off his creation to his other teachers?
Let me take the time to reiterate: because America is the land of the free and racial profiling.
He did show his other teachers his homemade clock and their reaction was horrifying. The police were called, reportedly saying, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.” It’s critical to mention that Mohamed never saw the officer before when he had arrived in the principal’s office.
Mohamed was released to his parents after fingerprinting, but the teen was handcuffed in his own school. He hasn’t been able to return to school and it was reported that they may still charge him with building a “hoax bomb,” even though he never said his creation was anything more than a clock. His father believes that the incident was due to his family’s ethnicity and Alia Salem of the North Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations agrees.
This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate. We’re still investigating,but it seems pretty egregious.
A hashtag, #IStandWithAhmed has appeared in support of Ahmed Mohamed on Twitter. In addition, a brand new Twitter account has been started, @IStandWithAhmed, that you can follow for updates and support.
In the tweet below, you can see Mohamed’s face tell the entire, heartbreaking story on its own.
This kid in a NASA t-shirt arrested for building a clock b/c teachers thought it was a bomb, deserves our attention. pic.twitter.com/yn9SbSOybV
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) September 16, 2015
We’re punishing a young boy for innovation and science—how is this just? What are we saying, as a society, to him about his future? That people will ignore his massive intelligence because he is a person of color?