When 14-year-old and Muslim student Ahmed Mohamed went to school, he didn’t come home by bus.
Instead he was arrested by authorities. As Mohamed eagerly presented a homemade clock to his teacher, her reaction was far from anything Mohamed expected. Thinking that it was a bomb, she immediately notified school officials who proceeded to call authorities. He was then escorted out in handcuffs.
After authorities had established that the hoax bomb was indeed a clock, Mohammed was suspended.
The racial profiling of Mohamed wasn’t a rare occurrence. Time and time again, we let race become a factor on how we treat others. As a nation filled with diversity, it is our duty to pave the way for cultural tolerance and awareness. In America, diversity is not a weakness but a strength.
America is a land of immigration, a melting pot, a painted mosaic. Our cultural differences ought to be valued and should be used it as a strength to unite, not as a weakness to divide. But when Mohamed was arrested, it didn’t represent these ideals. It only upheld racial supremacy.
Even after over 50 years, history still repeats itself.
On August 24, 1963 Emmett Till entered
a convenience store. He bought some bubblegum and when he walked out he said, “Bye, baby,” to the cashier.
Ryan Bryant, the cashier’s husband, and his brother-in-law, went to Till’s house a few days after. And they did the same thing what most white men living in Mississippi in 1963 would do. They dragged Till out, forced him to get in the car with him, and drove him to the banks of the Tallahatchie River. They then mutilated his body by gouging out his eyes, beating him with a barbwire fan, and shooting him.
After they had mangled him to their heart’s content, they threw him in the river to clean up their act.
Three days later authorities found his body, and the corpse could only be identified by the initialed ring on his hand. After convening for less than an hour, the jury miraculously issued the verdict, “Not guilty.”
In August 28, 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington, he said, “One day I hope that my four little children will not be judged for the color of their skin but for the content of their character.”
But even after 50 years later, what are we judging a person on: by the color of their skin or by the content of their character?