• Michael Morris

Ahmed Mohamed and Racial Profiling

If this is what the school administration and police force of Irving, Texas think a bomb looks like, they should probably never open up the tower of their desktop computer.

Perhaps Hollywood movies, where LCD countdown timers, circuits, logic boards, and the infamous red and blue wires are omnipresent on prop bombs, are partially to blame, but it’s likely that the arrest of 14 year-old Ahmed Mohamed on Wednesday, September 16th was a result of racial profiling more than anything else. Police ultimately decided not to press charges for making a “hoax bomb”, the crime for which he was arrested in suspicion of, but the fact he was arrested in the first place is indicative of a larger issue at play. (Those charges are pretty nonsensical anyway; what’s the purpose of bringing a fake bomb somewhere if you’re telling people it’s not a bomb?)

Racial profiling has been a problem in our society for hundreds of years, but ever since 9/11 the Middle Eastern-North American community has particularly suffered from discrimination and unfair accusations. Whether it’s at the airport, where they’re often selected for random security screenings, or much more blatantly, like when Islam is declared “evil” by prominent American politicians, it shows racial profiling is pervasive and demonstrates that racism is still alive in our society.

Just a few weeks ago, former MLB pitcher and ESPN analyst Curt Schilling tweeted an image comparing Muslims to Nazis because of the actions of ISIS. ESPN responded appropriately, by swiftly cutting ties with Schilling, but it just goes to show how deep-rooted the problem is.

Regardless of your own personal religious beliefs, it is absurd to assert that the actions of extremists and terrorists are representing the values of Islam. They are in no way representative of Muslim and Arabic people as a whole. There’s very little chance that any person of Middle Eastern origin you have met has ever done anything to harm anyone, let alone done something motivated by religion.

Their race or religion, just like anyone else’s, doesn’t tell you if they’re a bad person or a good person. And when this type of blanket distrust of an entire ethnicity of people leads you to arrest a child for bring an electric clock to school to show his friends and teachers, it’s time to reconsider and evaluate what we as a society are doing.

You rock, Ahmed. Keep doing what you’re doing, and keep building cool stuff. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.