HOW ZIAD AHMED & OTHER NON-BLACKS REAP THE BENEFITS OF BLACK LIVES
It was announced on early April 4th that Muslim teenager and activist, Ziad Ahmed, would be admitted to Stanford University. Why was his admission so special? Because of an essay that had never been written before (like every essay ever, but I digress). Ahmed decided that he would write “#BlackLivesMatter” 100 times to emphasize his passion for the cause. So many people basked and rejoiced in Ahmed’s acceptance and thought that this was the highest form of flattery. However, myself (and other Black people) could not bring ourselves to be happy for him.
Don’t get me wrong. The admission of any minority into an Ivy League like Stanford is a beautiful thing and should definitely be upheld. However, the admission of someone reaping the benefits of Black Lives instead of an actual Black Life is ridiculous and it is complete utter bullshit. While I commend Ahmed for his actions in promoting the importance of the Black Life, his argument lacked in association. His oppression will always be different than mines, and while that’s not his fault, it still leaves Black Lives at a loss. There are thousands, maybe even millions, of Black and Brown girls and boys who would have loved to type “#BlackLivesMatter,” hit copy, and then paste it 99 more times. But the sad realization is that they would never be admitted.
I also can’t help but believe that we are giving this kid too much credit when it comes to why he got accepted? I kind of found it fishy to hear that this acceptance was all because of an “essay,” so I did my own research. How many of you knew that he is featured as one of MTV’s Top 9 Teens Changing the World? How many of you knew that he interned for the US State Department? How many of you knew that he has volunteered directly under Hilary Clinton? How many of you knew that he, at the age of 18, has already done a TED Talk?
Let me once again make it clear that the attention that he is bringing to Black Lives Matter is not wrong whatsoever. However, the idea that he and other non-Blacks can be rewarded for promoting a cause such as Black Lives while actual Black Lives are looked at as terroristic and narcissistic for promoting their own cause is wrong. It is 100% wrong. And if he and other non-Blacks like Sam White (the guy who says the same exact thing as Black activist but because he’s White it’s more “understood”) knew this, they wouldn’t use it to gain followers on Twitter, more visitors on their upcoming tours, or gain college admission.
People will probably think I am trying to trash this kid out of jealousy, but I’m not. This kid has accomplished things and is probably more qualified to run this country more than Donald Trump could probably ever be. This kid is amazing and even former President Obama has noticed and commended Ahmed on his efforts to create a better world. I will NEVER put down someone who is dedicating their time and effort into creating a better social climate, INTERNATIONALLY. I will never take away from the brilliance that this kid inhales and the ideas he exhales. But I will also always call it like I see it.
Ally or no ally, if Black Lives aren’t reaping the benefits of Black Lives, then neither should you.