Black Twitter is divided over the Muslim teenager who wrote #BlackLivesMatter 100 times on his college application instead of writing a personal essay — and got accepted to Stanford University.
While some on Twitter have thanked New Jersey high school senior Ziad Ahmed for being an ally to the movement, others have criticized him for co-opting it for his own personal gain.
“[Non-black people of color], you have to start confronting the space you take away from Black folks to center yourselves & ignore yr anti-blackness,” one user wrote.
“This is so cool. Ziad Ahmed believes to be a Muslim is to be a #BlackLivesMatter ally. He took a risk for what he believes in, It paid off,” wrote another.
Ahmed tweeted a screenshot of his Stanford acceptance letter on Saturday, next to a photo of his response to the prompt: “What matters to you, and why?” Instead of writing an essay, Ahmed simply responded with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter repeated 100 times.
“As an ally of the black community though, it is my duty to speak up in regards to the injustice, and while this was not a form of ‘activism’ as it was simply an answer in a college application,” Ahmed told Mic. “I wanted to make a statement.”
According to Mic, the Bangladeshi-American teenager has been a strong activist and has a stellar resume, which most likely also led to his acceptance. He has been invited to the White House Iftar dinner and was recognized as a Muslim-American change-maker under the Obama administration. In 2016, he interned for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and in 2015, he gave a Ted Talk in Panama discussing the stereotypes facing young Muslim teens.
The publication reported that Ahmed was also accepted to Yale University and Princeton University.
Ahmed himself took to Twitter to defend his acceptance to the university on Tuesday. “Also, it’s important to note that this response was one answer on one application. Not my college essay or etc. There’s a lot more to it,” he wrote.
See some of the reactions below.
I'm thinking about Ziad Ahmed who copy pasted BLM a bunch of times as his college essay & got accepted to Stanford.
— Femme Feministe (@Femmefeministe) April 4, 2017
— Monique Judge (@thejournalista) April 4, 2017
— Ruthless???????? (@RuthOhanu) April 4, 2017
— patrisse cullors (@OsopePatrisse) April 4, 2017
My current crush is the boy that wrote #Blacklivesmatter 100 times in his application form at Stanford and got accepted .
— BONGEKA (@BongsterMfeka) April 4, 2017
@_aizayn That's true. To write about your activism the way he did doesn't seem like something a black student could do and still get into Stanford
— roberta (@roberta_nin) April 4, 2017
— Nnamdi_ (@ugwunnamdi) April 4, 2017
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) April 1, 2017
— Aaliyah???????? (@nrvous_) April 4, 2017
— Christiana A Mbakwe (@Christiana1987) April 4, 2017
Yeah I'm not sure I find this cute or heartwarming, no way a black kid could get rewarded for doing the same thing. pic.twitter.com/TDUe1d61o0
— Zoé Samudzi (@ztsamudzi) April 4, 2017