I made this piece of art from wires and circuit boards. Would the Irving school district and police department think I should be arrested too? Or does the paleness of my skin mean my harmless projects are given the benefit of the doubt?
Ahmed Mohamed’s story–nerdy kid builds something cool, wants to show it off–is a story as old as time. That’s why his story has resonated with so many across the science and tech sector, because we’ve all been there. The kid building things because we’re excited about making, excited about figuring out how things work. There’s a joy in finishing a project and finding that yes, you puzzled through and it works!
I saw that joy in Ahmed’s face when he was asked on MSNBC to describe how he made his clock.
It’s the feeling I got from building model rockets as a kid, and I can’t imagine what I would be like to go show off one of them and end up in handcuffs. All because someone was scared by what they didn’t understand and could only see destruction, not fantastic creation.
It’s utterly shameful that an ignorant, bigoted school administration and police department tried to take away that joy of creating because all they could see in wires and circuit boards was an instrument of destruction. Because all they could see in him was an agent of destruction.
I’m glad to see though that so many powerful people have rallied around Ahmed and have turned his terrible experience at school into something positive. I think I’d be having the best day of my life too, if the President of the United States, NASA engineers and astronauts, Mark Zuckerberg, and so many more big names are all inviting me to hang out and telling me my clock is cool. Ahmed wanted his teacher to see what he was capable of, and now thanks to the incompetence of the folks in charge of Irving, TX the whole world knows.
I wouldn’t be surprised if someday in the not too distant future, we’re going to see an Oscar-bait biopic about a then-legendary Ahmed Mohamed, the man behind a major breakthrough that changes the world. And the origin story will go back to Irving, TX and the science and tech community that rallied around a nerdy kid who thought no one would care about a Muslim boy like him.
Whatever you do Ahmed, keep on making.