In September 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas brought a homemade digital clock to school and was arrested because teachers, school administration, and the police thought it was a bomb. He had shown the clock he made to his engineering teacher, who told him to keep it in his bag, and then the alarm accidentally went off in his English teacher’s class. Although he told the teachers and principal that it was a clock, the police were called and he was handcuffed, arrested, taken for questioning, fingerprinted, and suspended for three days from school.
In response to this incident, people took to Twitter and other social media platforms using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed to discuss issues such as Islamaphobia, racial profiling, and privilege. Much support was also shown for the budding engineer/maker/scientist, including from engineers, computer scientists, teachers, the president of the United States, high ranking leaders from major tech companies and leading technical universities, and folks at NASA (Ahmed was wearing a NASA shirt the day he brought the clock to school and was arrested).
What is racial profiling? How is it usually talked about in your neighborhood or community? How is it talked about in the media that you see?
What is Islamaphobia? How does it manifest in popular culture? Who is affected by these kinds of representations? How?
In what ways could the teachers, principal, and police officers have better handled the situation?
Would this have happened if he had been another race, ethnicity, nationality, or gender? Why or why not? How does this relate to systemic discrimination?