Column: Amends of Ahmed

Inspiring creativity and ending stereotypes

Kelly Wynne, News Editor

Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high schooler from Texas, did a pretty impressive thing. He made a working alarm clock out of a pencil case. When Mohamed arrived at school with his invention, he presented it to his English teacher. Mohamed was then met with police and administration questioning his motives. He was arrested for creating a “hoax bomb” and suspended from school.

While a handful support the arrest, America’s overwhelming outrage at Mohamed’s arrest speaks for the awe-inspiring desire to stop cultural stereotyping.

Public figures ranging from Barack Obama to Mark Zuckerberg, reached out to Mohamed via social media, inviting him to tour their facilities and encouraging his creativity. The hashtag “#istandwithahmed” began trending on Twitter shortly after.

Microsoft sent Mohamed a variety of tech products and NASA invited him to see the Mars rover.

Mohamed is a bright, young student with a scientifically wired mind. This is something that can further him not only onto prestigious universities, but into world altering job positions. He should not be defined for being a Muslim teen, as no child, teen or adult should be defined by one’s culture.

It’s a shame that we live in a society so prone to diagnosing problems or traits based on skin color or religious views. Some even explained this media field day as a ploy created by terrorists to “make Islamophobia seem racist.” Newsflash: Islamophobia is racist. You can blame it on living in a post 9/11 America or you can blame it on ignorance.

Yes, we have lived through a time of fear and American angst. There is no arguing that attacks on America have severely altered our perception as a country. That being said, it is ridiculous and unjust to hold Islamophobic views based on a handful of events. According to Time Magazine, as of July 2015, white, American terrorists have killed twice as many people as Islamic extremists since 2002. If you don’t believe me, Google “white terrorists.” The numbers are there.

An incredibly smart 14-year-old built a clock. Yes, his teacher did the right thing by reporting something that she felt personally threatened by. The problem stems from the pride of both Mohamed’s school and the police department who to this day, will refuse to admit their wrongdoing. Yes, it is always better to be safe than sorry, but when a child tells you the truth and you are proven wrong, I believe it’s only right to apologize and move forward. The problem also stems from those in the public who believe this boy had the right to be arrested for furthering his creativity and being proud of something he created.

To those who say Mohamed was asking for it, this way of thinking will do nothing but stifle the creativity and curiosity of future inventors and geniuses. What kind of a world will this become if those with the latest advances in technology are afraid to speak up?

Mohamed’s story must be taken as an inspiration to revive the idea of creativity. So much of all that we do is laced with fear. A wonderfully brilliant teenager made a clock out of a pencil case. A pencil case! That is something to celebrate and embrace.

Let Mohamed’s story be fuel for the youth of America to express themselves. To invent. To create. Let Mohamed’s story be a warning to adults; Narrow-minded thinking will do nothing but ruin the hopes and dreams of those who still live and think without the idea of fear. Those around us have the power inside of them to really create something wonderful. Any arguments to supplement your judgmental attitudes have no base, and stereotypes are never valid excuses.