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Why Ahmed Mohamed's arrest is so harmful, explained in 9 forceful tweets

Ahmed Mohamed, in handcuffs.
Ahmed Mohamed, in handcuffs.
(Anil Dash)
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

Ahmed Mohamed is a ninth-grader in Irving, Texas. On Monday, he brought a clock he built to school — and, on the request of school officials, was arrested. Police suggested that he had tried to make a bomb.

It's hard to see this as anything but blatant, naked Islamophobia: Police surely would not have hauled off a white kid because of a clock. And it's something that needs to be dealt with loudly — something that tech writer and entrepreneur Anil Dash, one of the first to pick up on this story, articulates forcefully in this series of tweets.

Dash's point: When minority kids face discrimination for doing the same thing white kids do — like, say, building a clock and showing it to teachers at school — they get turned off from trying at all. This is an especially severe case, but one that illustrates the way systemic racism limits opportunity for people of color.

Dash's suggestion was simple: Get people to support Ahmed, so he's not permanently turned off from tech (according to the Dallas Morning News, Ahmed said he's never bringing an invention to school again). Dash is working, he writes, to rally the community of "makers" — people creating new things in tech — to help Ahmed by compiling a Google Doc filled with ideas for improving his situation (as well as messages of support for the ninth-grader) and creating a Twitter account dedicated to publicizing the case.

VIDEO: The police's explanation for arresting Ahmed Mohamed

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