A 14 year-old boy wanted to impress his engineering teacher by building a digital clock. But instead of winning the science fair, Ahmed Mohamed was met with five police officers at his Texas high school.
He was interrogated, searched and arrested. He was led in handcuffs to a juvenile detention centre.
Following the media fanfare, many are claiming that Islamophobia is alive and well in Dallas.
Ahmed's hobby - building radios and repairing go-karts - has left him feeling like "I wasn't human. It made me fee like I was a criminal."
When the clock beeped during Ahmed's English class, his teacher remarked that it looked like a bomb.
He claimed he had made a clock.
I couldn't tell you what a bomb looks like (or a homemade clock for that matter). But the authorities should. Obviously any threat of terrorism has to met with swift action, yet it seems to me that the response in this case - five police officers - would probably not have been quite so heavy handed, had the boy's name not been Mohamed.
Instead of a robotics award or even an official apology, Ahmed was slapped with a three-day suspension.
“He just wants to invent good things for mankind," said Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed. "But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.”
At no point did Ahmed make a threat. Hashtags in support of the teen - #IstandwithAhmed and #helpAhmedmake - have taken off on social media.
Dame Helen Mirren is an ardent feminist, and kudos to her. Yet her latest comment - slamming women who let men put their arms around them - has left even her fans head scratching.
The Oscar-winning actress claimed that when guys sling their arms around a woman it looks like “ownership.”
"Of course, when you’re young, you want the guy to take your hand and look after you," said the star of The Queen. “But when I see girls being leaned on, I want to say, ‘Tell him to get his damned arm off your shoulder’.”
In a recent interview with the Mail on Sunday, Mirren also had strong words for women who get married young (she didn't marry until age 52). She likened the female of the species to “toddlers in this modern world,” trying to find their way and negotiate issues of "sexual liberation, birth control, education and financial independence.”
I'm all for feisty, outspoken women. I'm all for equal rights in a sexist, ageist industry like Hollywood. But Mirren seems to have disdain for her contemporaries. Her words are, well, a bit patronizing.
Some of us do marry young - and stay married. Some of us actually like having an arm around us, and don't feel "owned" or otherwise under the thumb. We feel cherished and content.
I don't think this kind of thinking runs contrary to feminism. But that could just be me.
Image Source: WikiCommons
Sorry is the hardest word - and sometimes it takes a long time to spit it out. Thirty-two years, in fact, for Miss America organizers, who made a live public apology to Vanessa Williams during the latest pageant.
Back in 1983, Williams became the first African-American to don the pageant crown, and the first forced to resign 10 months later, after nude photos of her were leaked by Penthouse Magazine.
Williams was thoroughly and publicly shamed. She went from being a 20-year-old heroine (“… older black women thought they’d never see it in their lifetime. And some people would cry”) to the nation's pariah.
Her hometown in New York took down the sign in her honour. Unlike these days where some celebrities can weave a scandal into PR gold, in Williams' case it marked the beginning of the end. She's right. It's hard to imagine a similar fate befalling the likes of Jennifer Lawrence or Miley Cyrus.
"... for me, [the leaked photos] took every ounce of credibility that I had ... and wiped it out," said Williams, who took a four-year hiatus from the spotlight.
She returned, to launch a spectacular music career that would see her shelves lined with Grammys, Tonys and Emmys.
When the Miss America Organization welcomed her to be a judge at the 95th pageant, Williams, now 52, didn't hesitate.
"It's a new day there," Williams said. "The dust always settles. And once the dust settles, it hasn't changed who you are. You're still the same."
To her immense credit, she returned to the Miss America stage, full of grace, to accept this overdue apology from Miss America CEO, Sam Haskell:
"Though none of us currently in the organization were involved then, on behalf of today's organization I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Ms. Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be."
A happy ending for Williams, who helped crown Miss Georgia, 21 year-old Betty Cantrell.
Image Source: Angela George