An expanded mindset
Photo courtesy of Razan Abdullah February 12, 2024
Meet NCBS Honor Society member Razan Abdullah
Editor’s Note: As headquarters for the National Council for Black Studies, the University of Delaware is leading a nationwide effort to expand the NCBS Honor Society to include university chapters. NCBS Executive Director and UD Professor Alicia Fontnette spearheaded this initiative with an inaugural cohort of 10 Blue Hen undergraduates. “As we continue to grow, I’m excited that UD will be pioneering many of the initiatives for chapters worldwide, from community service projects to research opportunities,” Fontnette said.
Students were selected for their commitment to Africana studies, community service and academic rigor (all must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA). The following Q&A is part of a larger series spotlighting these charter members.
During her first year at UD, Razan Abdullah took numerous courses to find an academic program that could help with her eventual career.
After taking the Introduction to Africana studies course (AFRA110) with Professor Jorge Serrano, “I switched to the major immediately,” she said.
Here, the Newark native shares more about her experience as a student and NCBS Honor Society member.
What has been your favorite Africana studies course?
I have two favorite Africana courses solely because they changed my mindset and perspective on how I understood race, and they incorporated Black people and experiences into various aspects of academia.
The first course was Wages of Whiteness with Professor Brandon Stanford, which helped deconstruct my understanding of race. Before that class, I genuinely thought race was biological. This class demonstrated the ways in which race is taught to be scientific when, in reality, it is a man-made social construct of categorization that is weaponized to keep the masses divided. The readings, projects and homework assignments really brought a deeper understanding to the way race operates in the United States and why it continues to keep the majority of people divided despite our shared labor exploitation through capitalism.
The second course was my introductory Africana studies course taught by Professor Serrano, which introduced and centered Black concepts and thought around different social problems. This class gave me what many other courses lacked, which was the analysis of the ways in which racism is embedded in systems of government alongside the legal system.
What’s something you wish more people knew?
I wish more people knew that Africana studies is a major that you can use to make into a career. The skills and mindset that you gain through the courses is something that can help you in a variety of careers and the workforce, in general. Understanding the way that the world truly functions can help you not only change it but navigate it more effectively.
Why did you want to join the NCBS Honor Society?
It provided opportunities to connect with our scholars and those passionate about Black studies throughout the nation.
What topic will you be presenting at the upcoming national conference?
I will be presenting on mass incarceration in the United States and its global impact.
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on taking a gap year, working as a paralegal, going to law school, taking the bar exam, and then becoming a lawyer.