The day Lawrentians started their Fall Term, another classroom in Irving, Texas, was the source of controversy. Ahmed Mohammed, 14, brought a homemade clock to school and ended up getting arrested under the charge of bringing a hoax bomb. The school and the police both defended the incident as a necessary measure to protect the school and prevent the clock from spreading terror.
Alleged concerns regarding security have often been the vehicle for discrimination against minorities and marginalized groups. After Sept. 11, 2001, Muslims and “Muslim-looking” people—including Middle Easterners and South Asians—have been victims of this discrimination.
The dogma of national security superseding other issues or concerns has long been supported and criticized. In this case, however, it was not airport officials or police officers acting on discriminatory grounds. It was an educational institution chiding one of its own students for his endeavour and initiative. Rather than serving as mentors, educators decided to act aggressively on unfair assumptions.
Discrimination remains an unfortunate reality at campuses across the country. Luckily, on this campus, incidents like the Ahmed Mohammed case would be nearly impossible to find. This editorial, thus, may appear to be preaching to the choir.
However, we Lawrentians still have our own prejudices and biases, despite being enlightened enough to reject this form of ignorance. With all sorts of personalities weighing in on the topic—from the president of the country to that of the university—the “coddling of the American mind” might be part of the problem. The utter lack of consideration for views outside of our own can lead to discrimination. So long as any of us are afraid engage with a seemingly intolerable opinions, we may be welcoming in a new form of prejudice to our community.