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Patrick / flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

Scientists rally support online for Ahmed Mohamed and other nerdy kids of color



Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

The science community is offering words of encouragement for the 14-year-old boy who was arrested after he brought his homemade clock to school and accused of making a “hoax bomb.”

The Internet is already up in arms about Ahmed Mohamed’s story with many accusations of Islamophobia directed towards the Irving, Texas, school district as well as the police officers who questioned him. But even if police never charge Mohamed with a crime, some damage has already been done.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Mohamed explained that he loved robotics and was looking for a similar club at Irving MacArthur High School prior to his arrest; he brought in his clock, which he put together the night before, in order to impress his teachers. Now it’s another case of someone’s love for science getting squashed because of a terrible experience.

Meanwhile, Ahmed is sitting home in his bedroom, tinkering with old gears and electrical converters, pronouncing words like “ethnicity” for what sounds like the first time.

He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again.

The striking image of Mohamed held in handcuffs while wearing a NASA shirt, paired off with his story, struck an image with many within the science community.

Mohamed might not be the first Muslim boy to experience something of this nature, but geeks across all disciplines—scientists, artists, authors, and others—are tweeting in support using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed.

A petition has been launched for the Irving Police Department to dismiss all of the charges against Mohamed while others are bringing clocks to work in solidarity.

And it’s not the first time, either. They rallied behind Kiera Wilmot, who was expelled from her high school and faced felony charges for a science experiment.

Fantasy writer N.K. Jemisin expanded on the bigger picture of why it’s so difficult for women and people of color to even get involved in STEM fields.

As many pointed out, it’s not just an issue for Mohamed. Discouragement and bigotry is evident throughout the STEM fields at every stage.

Kelly Hills acknowledged the chasm between how Mohamed’s situation was handled compared to hers: He was arrested for bringing a clock into school while she was encouraged after blowing up parts of her high school lab—multiple times.

Not only are they sending words of encouragement, some of the biggest names in the science community are offering Mohamed opportunities for him to nurture his love for science now that he feels he can no longer do so at his high school.

Mohamed has been floored by the support and seeing that the Internet is on his side.

Photo via Patrick/Flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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The Daily Dot