An Inspiring Clock Triggers Racism

Ahmed_and_the_Clock,_after_Izzy_Galvez_(21478828885)
Illustration By: Izzy Galvez.

Most schools are learning environments that try to push students to become better people in the future. What happens when racism interferes with education? Sometimes it’s not even noticeable because it’s so well hidden in the system.

Racism could be easily ignored, yet once it starts to interfere with your everyday life, it becomes a problem. There are many cases, but recently one case in particular caught everyone’s attention.

September 14, at MacArthur High School in Irving Texas, freshman student Ahmed Mohamed showed up to school with a clock he had built himself. He wanted to impress all of his teachers, specifically his engineering teacher. Once Mohamed showed his teacher the clock, she told him it was nice but that he should put it away for the rest of the day. He ended up plugging it in later in the day during his English class. Mohamed put an alarm on and when it started to beep during class, the teacher asked to see it.

“It looks like a bomb, don’t show it to anyone else,” said MacArthur High School English teacher.

The teacher confiscated the clock and reported it to the office. Both the principal and a police officer led Mohamed to a room where four more police officers waited for his arrival. He was then questioned, and they realized the clock was not a real bomb, but they still viewed it as a hoax bomb. Mohamed stated that he was not allowed to call his family during the time he was being questioned. He also said the principal told him to sign a written statement, if he didn’t he would be expelled from school.

Mohamed was arrested and handcuffed out of the school. He was taken to a juvenile detention center where he went through the whole mugshot process,  followed by more questioning. The authorities ended up announcing that there would be no charges against him, but of course this story became a worldwide sensation.

As soon as people heard about what had happened they went straight to social media using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed and shared their opinions. So much attention was given to this incident that President Obama himself decided to share what was on his mind.

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great,” said U.S. President Barack Obama.

Many schools should inspire students to want to learn and be intelligent people. Don’t cut off their wings when they’re barely learning how to fly. Every child needs an opportunity to show their great skills. In other words, racism and assuming the worst in someone can lead to assumptions. We somehow need to fight the way people think, to change for the better and that’s exactly what this situation teaches.

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