A Clock Is A Clock Is A Clock, Except (Duh) When A Muslim Kid Makes It

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Texas, America

Our national idiocy, racism and rampant Islamophobia came into spectacularly inane focus this week in the saga of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old smart brown kid in Irving, Texas arrested when he created an ingenious homemade clock that school officials and police in their wisdom figured must be a bomb, 'cause, c'mon, it had wires, and anyway lookit his name. The high point of the sorry spectacle had to be the police spokesman explaining they arrested him when they "attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would only tell us that it was a clock" - maybe because, actually, it was?  - but there was no "broader explanation” of his unfathomable creation, like, you know, big hand, little hand kinda thing.

The losers of the day: The police, for showing themselves to be racist morons; Irving's famously Islamophobic mayor, who praised their "diligence and professionalism"; and America, for inexcusably, inexplicably allowing so many of its so-called public servants to achieve positions of power despite their mind-boggling stupidity, prejudice and incompetence. The winners: Ahmed's Sudanese parents, who ordered pizzas for the horde of media outside their house; Ahmed, who won online support, praise for his advice to other brainy kids to "go for it," and invitations from the White House, Twitter, Facebook, NASA, scientific and engineering organizations, and a bunch of STEM-oriented schools, including M.I.T., his "dream school"; the media who dug up stories about all the other you'd-think-suspicious classroom inventions - lemon battery, potato clock, baking soda volcano, and a nuclear reactor built by another 14-year-old (white, obviously) - that earned their creators acclaim and support, not handcuffs; and the Internet, which lit up. From the brilliant because people are more threatened by a brown boy who loves engineering than white people carrying guns around in a Target... because he wasn't carrying anything dangerous, like Skittles or iced tea....In Texas, you can get arrested for being smarter than your teachers...What kind of nation is this where a nerd cannot freely be a nerd?" We are this kind of nation. Maybe Ahmed will help change it.

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