While promoting her new Netflix film, The Unforgivable, the actress is sharing the lessons she's learned through the transracial adoption of her two Black children, son Louis, 11, and daughter Laila, 9.
Speaking to The Grio, Bullock says she and her son had a conversation about racial profiling when he was just six years old and wore a hoodie one day.
“I have a beautiful Black son,” Bullock said. “At the age of 6, he popped on a hoodie and I was like, ‘We’re gonna have a conversation. It’s different for you.’”
“I was like, ‘What does it look like you’re doing with the hoodie?’” she asked. “And he says, ‘Well, I look like I’m hiding.’”
After confirming that her young son had nothing to hide, she recalls telling him, "Then you don't need to wear [the hoodie] outside."
In 2012, Trayvon Martin was just 17 years old when George Zimmerman shot and killed him because he was wearing a "suspicious" grey hoodie. Since then, the "hoodie" conversation is presumably a subject that has come up in many households with Black children.
“I said, ‘People are scared and will react to you differently than if you were a white boy,’” Bullock continued. “And he knows it. I let them see everything. I let them hear and know everything.”
Bullock also said that as a mother, she's responsible for making sure her children are aware of the dangers that exist due to racism.
“I don't care if it scares them because it’s my job to let them know that outside of these safe walls, things are different,” she said. “But they know how safe they are in my house.”
Many people responded by applauding Bullock's words and parenting tactics, especially when it comes to being honest with her children about the reality of the world they live in.
Thank you #SandraBullock. Truth is crucial. Learning what that truth is from POC instead of the privileged & biased is necessary. When you finally get it, see it & fully respect it… you can honor truth & POC. You can never again not see the glaring injustices & inequities. IYKYK— Risa Leigh (@MissRisdemeanor) November 30, 2021
I wish I could love this 10 million times because I too have a 31yr old black son & 2 black grsons who's ages 8 & 9! I talk to all of them especially the 8yr old one because he's slightly different in beautiful ways...can't keep still & we all knows how that can end up! Prayers— Lynette Wright (@Lynette75988380) December 1, 2021
All parents who have black children — yes, black girls, too — feel angry, sad and helpless when we have to tell even our very young children that people who are not black see them as a threat and not worthy of respect or protection simply because they are black. But we must. pic.twitter.com/38vL2K6GWn— Wesley Etheridge (@wetheridge28) November 30, 2021
In another appearance on Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Jada's mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Bullock talked about her experience and feelings as a white mom with two Black children. She says she has the same feelings as a woman with brown skin and brown children or a white mom with white children.
“To say that I wished our skins matched…sometimes I do,” she explained. “Because then it would be easier on how people approached us.”
When Willow Smith interjected to say that people need to realize that race shouldn't affect the parent-child bond, Bullock responded with a realistic but hopeful thought for the future.
“Maybe one day that will go away. Maybe one day we will be able to see with different eyes.”