By Tiffany Bargeman
Do you ever wonder what it's like for Black sons living abroad? Do you ask yourself questions like:
- Would the police see my son as a threat in Germany?
- How would regular folks in Russia perceive my son?
- Would I be afraid to let my son go hang out at a mall in Sweden with his friends?
- Would my son get pulled over by the police as often if he lived in Colombia?
- Would I fear for his life the entire time he’s outside of the house if he lived in Taiwan?
- If my son were walking home with friends after playing basketball in Peru, would he be stopped by police and become a hashtag?
- Do other MOBBs think like me because I have been told I'm an overthinker, sooo...
Well, I've asked myself questions like this. And I've imagined that surely, when it comes to police brutality and the fear that moms have for our Black sons here in America, it cannot be as bad anywhere else. Of course, things are better for Black men and boys elsewhere; or are they?
I've had fleeting thoughts kind of hoping that my own son, who is almost 20 years old, will come to me one day with the big announcement that he'd like to leave the country. I imagine myself screaming in delight and relief, “Yes, Greg! Go! Be free! Fly away, son!”
Would he be free? Would he be safer? Would I worry as much about him encountering the police and it going wrong, so terribly wrong? The more I think about it, the more I'm not sure.
I've seen many posts in MOBB United’s private Facebook group by moms who say their sons are living abroad for various reasons, either with them or without them. Plus, I have a friend, Carnisa Berry (pronounced kuh-nē-shuh), also a mom, who lives in Beijing, China with her husband, Andre (a teacher at Beijing City International School [BCIS]); their daughter, Brianna, 13; and 15-year-old son, Bryson. I caught up with them while they were in the states this summer, just before they were to return to China, and took advantage of the opportunity to interview both mom and son, because I'VE GOT QUESTIONS.
They graciously accepted my request for interviews. Listen to Carnisa describe her feelings about the difference of raising her son and daughter outside of America, as we sat with our daughters and her daughter's friend in a local Wendy’s restaurant (Brianna chimes in to answer a very interesting question). Then listen to Bryson's personal perspective on his experience as a Black son living abroad. He conferenced with me from his grandma's house in Ahoskie, NC. Bless his heart. Their interviews were eye opening.
All countries are different right? And all families are different. And all Black sons are different. So their experiences must be different, and I think they are worth exploring. I've only just begun with Bryson in China. I've also seen moms’ Facebook posts about their sons in Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, France, and other countries.
I’m going abroad -- well, virtually -- with my questions over the next several months, bloggin’. Stay tuned for more in this series, Black Sons Abroad.