Sometimes the best protection a parent can offer is presenting the world exactly as it is.
Sandra Bullock recently appeared on an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s "Red Table Talk," where she discussed the realities of being a white mom to two black children.
Bullock adopted her son Louis and her daughter Laila between 2010 and 2015, and since the adoption has been praised not only for being so open with her children about race, but for approaching it through their perspective, versus one of privilege.
“To say that I wished our skins matched…sometimes I do. Because then it would be easier on how people approached us,” she admitted.
It might make things easier, but for Bullock and her children, that is simply not the truth.No parent wants to tell their child that the world can often be a scary and unfair place, but not having the difficult conversation is, as Bullock told BET in 2015, a “disservice.”
We are so honored to have OG fan, the incredible Sandra Bullock here at the table this week 💫 Watch an all new RTT now!https://t.co/G6uAzNs83t— Red Table Talk (@RedTableTalk) December 1, 2021
“I can't ride in a bubble with him. I want him to know the truth…that you’ll be judged by the color of your skin rather than the content of your character. But it exists, and I want him to be safe and I want him to be aware. Once he leaves that house and I’m not with him, it’s his life and how he approaches it is his decision…I want to know that I did the best I could as his mom to educate him on the ugliness in the world, and also the beauty.”
In an interview with theGrio, Bullock reflected on a heartbreaking experience after seeing son Louis wearing a hoodie. It’s crazy to think that something as innocent as this could be life-threatening, but as the countless stories of racial profiling continue to make headlines, it is a consistently relevant and crucial conversation to have.
She asked her 6-year-old, “What does it look like you’re doing with the hoodie?”
Louis’ response: “Well, I look like I’m hiding.”
Bullock told theGrio that Louis is well aware that he would be treated differently as a white boy. She reiterated that she “doesn’t care” if that fact scares her children, because it is her “job to let them know that outside of these safe walls, that things are different.”
The responsibility of a parent is to make the children aware of potential dangers they are likely to face, to fully equip and prepare them. For parents with children of color, this includes the added weight of discussing the prejudice waiting for them outside the safety of home.
Though Sandra Bullock is well aware of the hardships her children face, she still says “maybe one day we’ll be able to see with different eyes.”
For a change like that to happen, we will need to see through the eyes of empathy and compassion. This is something Bullock embodies every day that she chooses to have transparent conversations with her children, to “protect them, enlighten them, and show them their power.”
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