Monday, September 21, 2015

See Something . . . Say Something

See something . . . Say Something

I see these words all the time.  They are on metro ads, electronic highway signs, and tv commercials.

See something . . . Say something

I want to be shocked and outraged at the treatment of Ahmed Mohamed.  The 14 year old boy who built a clock, gave it to his teacher and was promptly suspended and arrested.

See something . . . Say something

I desperately want to remove all of the context of this story, the nagging catch phrases and simply consider this the acts of one overly edgy and clearly racist teacher.

See something . . . Say something

The teacher saw a brown kid who (s)he didn’t know well.  The brown kid was named Ahmed Mohamed.  Ahmed Mohamed brought a present for his teacher, a clock he made at home.  Sure if it were a bomb it would have to be made by the acme company for wile e coyote but how many bombs have you seen that didn’t have a clock on them?

See something . . . Say something

I’m not excusing their behavior, really I’m not.  It is reprehensible to punish him and to take it as far as they did when he clearly never said or did anything threatening.  I’d like to think that I would never EVER be that bad BUT . . . haven't we been trained to be afraid of 14 year old boys, especially 14 year old brown boys, especially 14 year old brown boys named Ahmed who brought you a ticking present.

See something . . . Say something

Isn’t that what the teacher did?  She saw something and she said something.  I would never be like that right?  Yet, I remember my first reaction when I saw the representatives of the mosque trying to move into Woodmont Academy.  Their outfits, their beards, their hijabs.  I shuddered at my own reaction even then but my “instinct” was undeniable.  The metro ads and message boards work, and we have all been trained to react in fear.

Could something like this happen in HoCo schools?  Probably.  I doubt it would escalate quite as far but it certainly could happen.  Plus, just to broaden it for a second how many other preconceived assumptions box 14 year old (and 5 year old and 7 year old) boys and girls in?  While they might not be taken away in cuffs aren’t we obligated to fight this inside the school system?  I know it’s a lot to ask of our system but who’s if not HoCos?  What better time than now?  What better place than here?

I see something . . . Now I’ve said something.  When does action happen?

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