The Ahmed Mohammed case struck a chord with me not just because of his ethnicity, but for something more personal. The kid is a nerd. A tinkerer. A maker.
When I was 9, I nearly killed myself with a clock, because I had the bright idea to disassemble one – while it was still plugged in. (smart doesn’t necessarily mean good judgment) I learned that day what an electric arc is as one cut the screwdriver I was using in half and blew a fuse.
Growing up, I spent a fair share of my time being made fun of, occasionally getting stuffed in a middle school locker or beaten up on the playground. I was never athletic, never tall, never strong, never popular. I was a nerd. Yet decades later and despite the best efforts of some to achieve a different outcome, I not only preserved what it means to be a nerd but managed to thrive because of it.
Us nerds have to stick together, and that’s perhaps why you’ve seen a disproportionately larger response because of it. Ahmed Mohammed is one of us, and we know how tough the journey to adulthood will be already, without ethnic hatred to compound it.
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