How is parenting Black children different than parenting non-Black children? In this episode two moms, Quiana Agbai, founder of Harlem Love Birds, and Vanessa Bell, founder of De Su Mama, share what parenting looks like for them in raising Black children in today’s world.
Quiana and Vanessa share their fears, but more importantly, how they build their children up to love themselves, to experience joy and how they work to disrupt the narratives and stereotypes of Black families.
Listen to the episode here:
Episode notes: An excerpt of the episode to put in context the current state of the United States when we recorded. (June 2020)
Note: This episode was recorded in early June. We were in day 70-something of being in quarantine here in New York City, where I am located.
On May 25th an unarmed black man, George Floyd, was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. The video that made its rounds around the world showed a police officer crushing this man with his knee and the world watched as George Floyd pleaded for his life.
This event came right after we witnessed a white woman, Amy Cooper, call the cops on an African American male in Central Park, in New York City, where it was clear that she was using her white privilege to put that man’s life in danger.
The day this episode goes live, protests have been going on for almost a month, and many of us have been in quarantine for over 100 days. That’s what is happening right now in the United States.
I talked about black motherhood before, about racial justice and intersectionality.
Today we are going to have a conversation about raising Black children in the United States because I think it’s important for those of us who are not raising Black children to hear about what this means.
Just to put some context, disparities start while black children are in the womb. Black moms are less likely to be listened to while they are giving birth, suffer higher mortality rates, and Black babies are more likely to die within their first year.
Black children are more likely to be expelled from school.
Black children are more likely to go to schools that are underfunded and lack resources. They are also more likely to be seen as adults, rather than kids.
In a study from Georgetown Law researchers found that black girls as young as 5 years old are already seen as less innocent, and needing less support than white girls of the same age.
Black children are more likely to end up in juvenile detention, and incarcerated later on. The Sentencing Project estimates that Black youth were five times more likely than white youth to be detained. And of course, there are the other disparities that affect African American communities: they live in food deserts, they have higher rates of asthma, diabetes and other illnesses. African-American communities suffer from over policing and higher incarceration rates. The list goes on and on. There is no denying that there are real systemic issues that affect Black children and black families.
That is the backdrop for this conversation. My guests are two moms raising Black children: Quiana Agbai is the founder of the blog Harlem Lovebirds. Quiana is currently living in Boston with her husband and two children.
Vanessa Bell, founder of De Su Mama, a blog about creating legacy and raising multiracial children. Vanessa is a Latina from California. She and her family relocated to Costa Rica last year. We talked about fears but more importantly, how they are raising their children to experience joy,
Make sure to follow Quiana and Vanessa on Instagram!