Never in his wildest dreams Ahmed Mohamed would have thought that trying to impress his teacher with a home-made alarm clock would make him an internet sensation and also get him an invite to the White House and Facebook headquarters.
Imagine the excitement and anxiety he would have woken up to to exhibit his engineering skills in front of his peers and teachers and at the same time, his disbelief and horror when the school called the police because their tiny heads could not comprehend the little masterpiece he had created, and contemplated it to be a bomb when it beeped in class.
This does raise a few questions. Would the child have been put through the same trial if he wasn’t black? Or if his name didn’t have ‘Ahmed’ or ‘Mohamed’? I believe, yes. He wouldn’t have been handcuffed. He wouldn’t have been an internet sensation. Life would just be normal. Easy-breezy.
The situation, in the United States of America, is deplorable. Racism has traversed all limits and Islamophobia is reaching the apogee. We will never forget 9/11 but that does not mean we will label all Muslims as ‘terrorists’. Raising questions on the credibility of Ahmad’s invention is nothing but insulting humanity. Can’t a Muslim be a scientist of great accord? Leave scientist, Muslims can be great humans too.
Why are we, as educated humans or as people running schools, in whose hands lie the fate of thousands of students, letting our prejudices and biases eclipse our rationality? What would the next generation learn from us? Just to slander and disparage people the same. Doesn’t that make us a terrorist too? And this vicious circle just goes on!
The policeman remarking, “Yes, that’s who I thought it was!” shows that this fear and misconception is deeply ingrained in the back of our minds. As a progressive society, until and unless we shun these notions that we have formed of people, we’ll just make life harder for people around.
The little boy meant no harm. An MIT aspirant, Ahmed, just wanted recognition and if schools will stifle creativity, there is no hope left for the world. Judgement Day will arrive soon!
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.