Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ahmed the Genius Clockmaker

I personally am proud that Ahmed Mohamed was raised in Texas. 

Ahmed recently built an elaborate electronic clock and took it to school and was detained until the clock was determined not to be a bomb.  Bringing his clock to school in this day and age was a bit sketchy.  Not because this young genius is Muslim, but because there has been so much school violence in the news and a lot of heightened school security because of that.  Even the teacher to whom he actually showed the clock told him that he should not have it at school.  Is that teacher racist?  Or simply aware of the heightened security at the school?.

Ahmed tried to keep the clock hidden the rest of the day, and then it beeped in English class.  Although Ahmed knew it was neither a real nor fake bomb, his English teacher did not.  It frightened the teacher who called in authorities.  The clock was a clock was a clock was a clock.  But what if it wasn’t?  Nobody at the time knew that except Ahmed. 

Why does the media make Ahmed’s experience about him being Muslim?  It assumes that his religion is the issue, when in actuality, it was the issue of his exceptional clock that was the issue.  He was advised that it was not something he should have brought to school.  He could have put it in the principal’s office, maybe called a member of his family to take it home.  But he’s young and not thinking about the larger issues of school shootings that influence the school authorities.

For those outraged and claiming racism, what makes that so?  Why is it not a question of school authorities responding quickly to what could have turned out differently?  How can we have it both ways?  Can you want to prevent school violence and at the same time ignore a potential threat for the sake of not offending someone on account of religion, ethnicity, disability or gender?  No. You have to act.

Just to bring perspective to this – in New York City, the most liberal city in the world, there are signs in English and in Spanish on the streets and subways saying “if you see something say something.”  And people do see things and they do report them.  In New York there are 25,000+ surveillance cameras posted by the government.  This does not include the cameras in banks, stores, etc.  In New York City you are on camera at least 7 times a day.  Would you call that racist?  Or preventative?

The other day in Studio City, California, someone reported a bag under a bus stop bench.  The bomb squad was called.  The bag turned out to belong to a homeless person.  But why did someone call about the bag?  Why did the bomb squad respond?  Were they racist?

This is the world we live in.  Politicians tell us we need the PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security, etc.  TV is filled with crime, violence and drama – not just the news, but “entertainment.”  So, how can we be expected to always know who is innocently bringing a clock to school and who actually has a bomb?

For those who condemn the entire State of Texas in entirety for religious bigotry, etc., let me say the bigotry is on you because Ahmed is a Texan.  So, when you lump together all Texans as bigots, you include him.  That’s hardly fair.
And, I for one am glad that Texan Ahmed is going to the White House to meet with engineers and others that share his technical genius.

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