American Education, American Terror, & the Clock Affair

Thanks for your responses to my last post regarding what is approaching consumption and commodification levels in the Ahmed Mohamed Clock Affair.

As an Education scholar, I would also like to point out the urgent need for better support, funding, and training in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas. When educated adults – including teachers & police – can’t tell a bomb from a clock, we’ve got a serious problem. Ahmed’s engineering teacher noted this when he admired the clock, and cautioned the boy not to show it to anyone else. Clearly, he knows the level of scientific illiteracy among his colleagues.

As an academic in the social sciences, may I also urge educational focus in this area as well. More courses in Sociology, Anthropology, and History may be useful in generating wider understanding of social phenomena, and may help us be critical of ludicrous claims of causality.

We know along with the engineering teacher, of the level of hysteria and paranoia that the media and politicians work hard to foster in the American public. In this era of never-ending high-level alerts, we must work to protect the public from public security breakdowns, of course. Surely it is also key to protect the public from unfounded paranoia and hysteria, which may (and do) easily result in serious security breakdowns. The concern of Islamophobes is selective though: a clock built by a 14-year old kid is a lot more worrying than, for instance, an arsenal easily available to James Holmes.

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