"Beyond everything, don't f--- with my kid. I will be a mama bear to the end," says Connie Britton of protecting her son Yoby, 10

Connie Britton
Credit: Connie Britton/Instagram

Connie Britton is opening up about becoming a single mom during a transitional period in her life.

The White Lotus actress, 52, welcomed son Yoby via adoption in 2011 after a three-year adoption journey. At the time, Britton was moving to Nashville, Tennessee, to star in the show Nashville, juggling parenting her new 9-month-old baby with no support system surrounding her at her new home.

"I feel like becoming a mother changes everything, in terms of how we look at life and how we know ourselves. But so much changed at the same time for me, because when I adopted Yoby, I then also immediately moved to Nashville and started doing that show," Britton tells United Airlines' in-flight magazine Hemispheres.

"And that was a very ambitious, difficult show. It was extremely long hours, and I was a brand-new mother, and I had no support system in Nashville," she recalls. "And so, at least initially, I would say being a mother mostly taught me grit, frankly. And to rely on myself and my instincts. So I do think that being a mom has brought that out even more in my work — and in everything, really."

Britton also opened up about raising a Black son in America. Yoby, now 10, is from Ethiopia.

"Well, I have cried many tears. I could probably cry right now. Aside from the interpersonal for us, and for me wanting to really nurture his love of who he is, his understanding of where he came from, and also to empower him as a Black person in America, I'm also aware that, as a white person, the reality of what he is going to face in this world is one that is so complex for me [to understand]," says Britton.

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Connie Britton
Connie Britton
| Credit: Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty

"And it's one that I have a deep sense of longing to change for all of us. And yet, as a white person, I have to come to terms with my own responsibilities and my own accountability around that," she continues.

The Friday Night Lights and American Horror Story alum adds, "Also, I am a fierce mother of a Black son. Period. End of conversation. Beyond everything, don't f--- with my kid. I will be a mama bear to the end.

"When I see Black men and Black women and Black children being abused and destroyed by the system, and by this white systemic racism, I have zero tolerance. I'm enraged," Britton says. "That's a personal journey for me. So it's brought up a lot of complexities for sure."

Britton has previously been open in the past about how much Yoby (whose birth name is Eyob) inspires her.

"My son is adopted from Ethiopia so I always say I can take very little credit, but he, from the beginning, just inherently has had such an open and curious heart and love of life," Britton told PEOPLE in 2017 of her only child.

"He's very into learning and seeing what's happening and seeing what people are doing," she continued. "I just love that about him. And it immediately opens me up as well."