How Ahmed’s clock became a false, convenient tale of racism
By Kyle Smith September 19, 2015
When is America going to get serious about the problem of white kids getting suspended from school for nothing?
By now you’ve heard the story of Ahmed Mohamed, crowned by the Daily Beast “The Muslim Hero America Has Been Waiting For” after the 14-year-old brought to school a beeping, strange-looking homemade concealed device that turned out to be a clock.
School officials, thinking, as 95% of Americans would, that it kinda looked like a bomb, hauled him out of class. Police put him in handcuffs and, even after the confusion passed, the boy was suspended from school.
That earned Mohamed a planned trip to the White House, a message of support from Hillary Clinton, an offer to stop by Facebook to meet Mark Zuckerberg and an invitation to be an intern at Twitter.
The police overreacted. Yet the device did look like something Ethan Hunt would lob out of a helicopter at the last minute in “Mission: Impossible.” As National Review’s Charles Cooke pointed out on Twitter, the scary-looking tangle of wires “looks a lot more like a bomb than a pop tart looks like a gun.”
Josh Welch, a white Maryland kid with ADHD who was 7 years old when he was kicked out of school for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a pistol and pretending to shoot other students with it, must be puzzled.
Where’s his White House invitation? Where’s his chance to start networking at Facebook? His parents were forced to hire a lawyer and spent a year and a half just trying to get the suspension erased from the kid’s record. They were repeatedly refused.
“I stand with Ahmed, too. But I also stand with Alex Stone,” noted Reason writer Robby Soave. Alex Stone, a 16-year-old white kid from Summerville, SC, wrote a short story in which he imagined using a gun to kill a dinosaur. For this his locker was searched and he was arrested, handcuffed, charged with “disorderly conduct” and suspended from school for three days.
Obviously the White House and Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t be bothered to comment, but you’d think that, at the very least, Stephen King would have sent out a tweet expressing outrage that imagination was being punished.
In Dyer County, Tenn., Kendra Turner says she was suspended for saying, “Bless you” after a student sneezed, and that her teacher told her that she would have no “godly speaking in class.”
The homemade clock that Ahmed Mohamed brought to schoolPhoto: AP
A school administrator said, “This was not a religious issue at all, but more of an issue the teacher felt was a distraction in her class.” Uh-huh. School leadership offered no explanation for the photos posted by students that showed “bless you” on a list of expressions banned in the classroom. Turner is still waiting for her call from President Obama.
Are white kids being punished en masse for dopey quasi-infractions because of their race? Of course not. That’s ridiculous.
But it’s equally absurd to suggest that you have to be Muslim, or brown-skinned, or live in Texas, to be subjected to overenthusiastic use of school discipline and police force.
“It never would have happened to a white kid”? It happens to white kids all. The. Time.
The main difference between the Ahmed Mohamed case and the others is that the mainstream media and the leftist point of view it presents just can’t let go of Ahmed. Ahmed is too useful to their narrative to be a one-day story.
That Bristol Palin said on Facebook that President Obama didn’t need to get involved in the situation proved irresistible for the media, which loves to depict America as a bitter standoff between red-state hicks on the one hand and sophisticated members of the cool bicoastal techno-media club on the other.
Let’s just savor for a moment that the musings of the daughter of an unemployed former governor constitute national news. This year the brother of a sitting president made derogatory comments about the leader of the free world and the reaction from the media was crickets.
Malik Obama gets the courtesy of being ignored because he has also said some crazy things. Now imagine Bristol Palin making loony statements. Would the media decline to cover them?
For 14 years and two weeks now, the left has been desperate to find some evidence, any evidence, that Muslims in general are facing deep-seated discrimination because a few Muslims attacked us on 9/11.
That American Muslims have instead mostly been treated with respect and courtesy ought to be a point of pride, but at no point will the left ever say, “Isn’t it great that we’re such a pluralistic and tolerant country?”
The left-led push to turn a man who was, as of 2004, an obscure state senator with no particular accomplishments, into the president four years later, was centrally and crucially about race. Everyone else was being subjected to a bait-and-switch.
Instead of being credited with enlightenment for being the only white-majority country ever to elect a black leader, now we’re told that everything is about racism.