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Your prejudice is showing: Islamophobia manifests in Texas

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Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. 

America took a million steps backwards when police officials arrested a 14-year-old student.

After Ahmed Mohammed proudly brought a homemade clock to his school in Irving, Texas, he was arrested for what police are calling a “hoax bomb crime.” 

Ahmed is of Sudanese descent with a Muslim background. 

After news of his arrest spread throughout the nation and around the world, many speculated that Ahmed’s Muslim name was what triggered his teacher’s suspicion.

Needless to say, Islamophobia is a very serious issue in America. 

Many times, however, we show our biases and fears against people of Islamic background, with Middle Eastern appearances or with Muslim names in an unconscious way.

We all have biases. They can range from crossing the street at night when you see a black man walking towards you, to assuming the lady with the Hispanic sounding name probably does not speak English, to freaking out just a little bit when a man in a turban is on the same flight as you. 

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have our biases.

And while it is important to #standwithAhmed, it is also extremely important that as a nation, we use this opportunity to reflect on the biases that we hold and make a conscious effort to change them.

The teacher’s reaction is a heightened response to a bias that did not just develop the moment she saw Ahmed and his clock. 

Her bias towards Muslim-Americans has always been subconsciously present within her. 

Seeing Ahmed with that clock just exposed her prejudice.

Ahmed’s teacher is merely a reflection of a current subset of America. 

Internal, and perhaps, subconscious biases made this teacher afraid of a home science project instead of supportive and encouraging to a bright and open-minded young student.

If this situation had not received the amount of media attention that it did and the nation had not risen in support of the brilliant 14-year-old, he would have been one more mind suffocated by the harsh realities of a prejudiced society. 

How many bright minds, young or old, are we as a society suffocating each day with our individual prejudices that we refuse to address in an attempt to be politically correct?

The narrative of the entire situation would have been completely different had the police responded differently. 

Rather they ganged up on the Ahmed in the name of an “interrogation.”

The silver lining to this atrocious injustice has been the outpour of support from political and public officials including Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and even President Barack Obama himself. 

All of this support shows that as a nation we do want to be free of these prejudices, but that can only happen if we stop hiding behind the comfort of political correctness and address our biases.

If brilliant children are going to be punished for being creative, then there is going to be a significant decrease in the creators and innovators in this country. 

If that is the path we continue on, then truthfully, it is possible that we will never get our hoverboards or find a cure to cancer.

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Your prejudice is showing: Islamophobia manifests in Texas