Written by: Nura Abdi
As a black Muslim, I have faced professors pronouncing my name wrong. I have faced explicit racism from my peers in my classes, whether that be hearing something that made me feel uncomfortable and uneasy or being asked very inappropriate and condescending questions about my faith or my blackness.
Sometimes I would face some very uncomfortable racist answers from my own academic advisers. I would feel uneasy and targeted by my professors in my classes whenever we would talk about issues that affect students of color. I would feel targeted by staff members on campus by them trying to explain my faith, my blackness, and what I am going through to me.
I have had staff members make it seem like I was “lucky” for me to even go here. I would feel targeted by professors by them “trying” to understand what I go through and it didn’t help that I didn’t have a black professor until my junior year and I ended up finding that professor at UW Seattle which I am so grateful for. It was and still is very hard to deal with all of it and made me feel isolated, alone, sometimes even hopeless at what I experience and feeling like I don’t have support and help for me to navigate all that I was going through is super frustrating.
Especially since UWB is a campus that claims that they have a commitment to diversity and in the 3 years I have been here even though it’s getting better, I have never really seen that commitment really being taken seriously. At that point I couldn’t handle it so much that I was on the brink of dropping out. It was affecting my mental health and everything whether that be my classes or anything.
However if it wasn’t for Black Student Union and the Diversity Center I can guarantee you I wouldn’t be here. They have helped me navigate this institution, with my classes, getting into my major; everything. They made going through college a little bit easier. It helped me find my voice and my passion even more who I am and what’s important to me. I have met amazing professors here who have become valuable mentors for me and people in BSU who have made me feel so welcome here on campus that they ended up becoming close friends of mine. Those spaces on campus helped me so much, mentally and psychologically and without them I honestly would promise I would drop out because I just couldn’t handle it.