I would like to start off by stating that I am in no way trying to belittle or deny the dangerous problems that this country has with weapons, more specifically, guns, in schools. The statistics for school shootings in this country are way too high to be overlooked, and I do think a significant amount of time needs to be taken to assess school security and weapon control laws in this country. The case of Ahmed’s clock, however, is not the place for this conversation.
The first issue with linking Ahmed’s clock to safety issues at school is that his clock in no way resembled a gun, but instead looked more like a bomb. This distinction accounts for a drastic statistical shift between the epidemically high number of school shootings and recorded school bombings that occur each year. Moreover, the connection between a young, Muslim male carrying a bomb is too conveniently made, which leads me to the bigger problem hovering around the situation.
Regardless of the feelings and rationales that the authority figures had in the situation, at the end of the day, a young Muslim boy was assumed to be carrying a bomb around school that wasn’t actually a bomb, and was wrongfully arrested for it. This is just an isolated event in the grand scheme of this country in which authority figures (most commonly police officers) wrongfully accuse, assume, and attack people of color (POC) for possessing weapons that they don’t possess. When a POC is found in a compromising situation, they are treated as guilty until proven innocent. This is directly contradictory to the judicial rights that white people and non-POC have. This mistreatment is rooted in an irrational and malicious ideological framework that authorities in this country have towards POC. Whether the accusation and arrest of Ahmed Mohammed was purely a safety precaution or not, there is no true way to exclude race from the conversation. For this reason, I think that the backlash against these authority figures that ensued on social media, as well as President Obama’s reaction, was completely warranted, and furthermore, necessary. We can no longer, as a country, passively respond to the possible mistreatment of POC, no matter the circumstance. The systematic oppression of POC in this country has gone on for too long to ignore its presence. One of the ways that this nation can fight against this oppression is to call it out whenever we see it, even if it is not the major problem or conversation that needs to be had about the situation. It is necessary for this country to be proactively hypersensitive about these issues if we ever hope to resolve them.