On Monday afternoon, 14-year-old high school student, Ahmed Mohamed made national headlines after being wrongly arrested.
The excited freshmen and engineering aspirant entered the classroom with a self-created digital clock made from a pencil case. Unfortunately, his excitement was not met with praise. Ahmed’s teacher mistook the invention and called the police, ending in an arrest. A photo of Ahmed in a NASA t-shirt and handcuffs has since gone viral along with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a young and intelligent person of color has been targeted, degraded, and stereotyped. In 2013, 16-year-old Kiera Wilmont’s harmless science experiment resulted in an arrest and criminal charge of “possession of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.”
Stories like these lead to the bigger picture of stereotyping within the classroom and Penn State isn’t excluded.
University Park reports a student body made up of 6% African-Americans, 5.9% Asian American, 5.9% Hispanic, and 7.6% international students. With this diversity, negative race-oriented experiences within the classroom have still occurred.
As multicultural students, it’s likely that we’ll experience similar situations like Ahmed’s. Take pride in your work – you should never be handcuffed or interrogated for exploring the things that the world has to offer.