BIPOC Parenting Series: Roselyn's Story
As a community-focused company, Kabrita USA strives to be inclusive and to continuously celebrate diversity. In honor of Black History Month, Kabrita USA is featuring a BIPOC Parenting Series, for the entire month of February. The BIPOC Parenting Series centres BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) parents’ experiences. Our goal is to enhance greater representation of BIPOC parents in the media, as well as to amplify BIPOC voices and stories.
Today, we are sharing Roselyn’s story about the fears she has for her son facing inequalities, racism, and injustice despite seeking and giving him the best.
I’ve been a mom since 2016, and it’s been a pretty smooth cloud-nine vibe the entire time. I have a 4-year old son named Grayson, and his dad and I do what we consider to be a pretty awesome job at being his parents. We stop at nothing, we spare nothing, and rarely is there a hesitation to give him what he needs, wants, and anything in between. He’s an amazing kid and as he’s an only child, he gets to soak it all up - exclusively.
Parenting over the past year, however, has put so much into perspective for me. Much of which I already knew and simply has been heightened, and much of which I think I could hope I could be naive about but no, we simply can’t be.
I am a mother of a son, a Black son. My son, who has the most loving and charismatic personality, is strongly affectionate, loves to be social and greet anyone and everyone in the street, and radiates wherever he is, has been nothing but joy in our world. Sadly, I’ve had to realize that whether it’s now or later - his presence alone can impose the opposite feeling to someone else and he can be seen as a threat...just because of the color of his skin. As a parent, that is a very hard pill to swallow.
We do so much for our son. We’re always seeking and giving him the best of everything - the best that works for us anyway. We seek the best for his education. We seek the best neighborhood to raise him in. We seek the best activities, the best toys, the best foods, the best nutrition. Even as a baby, Grayson had an awful intolerance to dairy, and he was fed Kabrita exclusively from 12-months of age until he was 2.5. Having the option and more importantly, having the access is so much that can quickly get taken for granted if you’re not aware .
All of it is a ton of privilege to unpack because so many little boys who look like him and are his age in this country, don’t get access to any of that. Is it their fault? No. Is it their parent’s fault? Not necessarily. Is it the result of a greater hindrance? Yes, systemically, it is.
I’m fully aware of the advantages that my son has over other children in this country, but I’m also aware that those advantages are only a fraction of what’s available to many. I’m also aware that any privilege or leverage he may have stops short and means nothing should he become the focus of a racist person. At that point, it doesn’t matter that my son is bilingual, or has a great education, is well-traveled, or has an extensive palette. In the eye of a racist person, none of that matters...none of that is even considered. It scares us for him.
It upsets me that later down the line, my son is subject to being profiled and may have opportunities blocked from reaching him simply because of how he looks. It bothers me that he will naturally have to set out on a path to always work twice as hard in our society so that he can be seen as equal. It frightens me that one wrong, ill-fated encounter can end his life in something as simple as a traffic stop or mistaken identity. These are the same exact fears that I have with his dad, and none of it is far-fetched based on the recent series of frequent events we’ve seen play out over and over all throughout this nation. It upsets me as a mom, that I have to carry these worries about my little boy. I can only protect him so much, and I have to carry the weight of wondering - at what point does he go from being cute, to being a threat?
How do I parent with all of that? Quite frankly, I’m not sure I have an answer. I just do. I’m a mother every day regardless of what’s happening around us. Sometimes it’s hard to wake up and parent, other days it’s easy but the questions and worries never really go away. They’re always there, and some of them I worry about in regards to myself too, but naturally, as a mom, it’s instinctual to be concerned about your child first.
I hope that one day we can all see an end to systemic inequalities, racism, and injustices around our nation. It would be calming to know that I can let go of my worries. Till then, however, it is our support system and our allies that help us through our days and for that I am thankful. I’m thankful for those doing the work, for those showing up to the protests, and for those using their voices. It is every one of those actions that are making the path of parenting a little bit easier for moms like myself as time goes on and I don’t overlook it one bit.
Kabrita USA BIPOC Parenting Series shares genuine stories written by parents from the BIPOC community. Each story offers a different perspective from their personal parenting experience. To read more stories, please visit our Nourish Blog.