Sanda Bullock, racism, parenting

Sandra Bullock on 'Red Table Talks.'

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.”

She added:

“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.”

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

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