Sandra Bullock and the Post-racial Adoption Era

If you’re like me, you don’t really follow entertainment news, but nowadays it’s nearly impossible not to find yourself bombarded by updates on current celebrities. You’d have to be living under a rock not to have been paying attention to the latest news break in the entertainment industry… Sandra Bullock has filed for divorce from her husband Jesse James.

This saga is notable for more than just salacious gossip & rumors. First & foremost, it felt good to be reassured that American media was just as capable of going after a white male accused of cheating as they did Tiger Woods. (For those still trying to draw comparisons, keep in mind that Jesse James’ fame pales in comparison to that of Tiger Woods. Additionally, Jesse James had two mistresses, while Tiger had considerably more.)

You’d be surprised how many times women get the blame for not doing enough in a marriage. (see Jennifer Aniston) However, sympathy for Sandra Bullock is strong and not just from her peers in Hollywood. We’re all aware that she took legal action to adopt her husband’s children in order to provide a more stable environment for them, hence intensifying an already growing contempt for Jesse James. Additionally, we find out that three months ago, they adopted a child in a process that took several years to bring to fruition. How could a man commit adultery with a woman with whom he was actively planning a family with? This only adds insult to injury. No wonder she filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences! How could anyone see eye-to-eye with someone like that?

When People Magazine revealed their cover with Sandra Bullock and her new baby boy, many murmured about her decision to adopt a black child. Too often, we see children of color being adopted by parents who lack a thorough understanding of the child’s cultural/ethnic background. Sandra Bullock is the exact opposite. For years, she has been a strong proponent of projects that support people of color in Hollywood. If you didn’t know, her concern for a lack of Hispanic-oriented sitcoms on tv led her to push for a mainstream sitcom that starred Hispanics. She approached George Lopez & together they created The George Lopez Show on which she served as executive producer. Her goodwill is even more of an indicator of her deeper understanding of social issues affecting people of color. After Hurricane Katrina hit, she donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for renovations, a health clinic & band uniforms to Warren Easton Charter High School, the first public high school for boys in Louisiana. That’s not all, she also set up a $10K college scholarship for the school & when her movie The Blind Side, which she won the Oscar for earlier this year, premiered in New Orleans, she used the event as a fundraiser for the school. Additionally, she has donated $1M to relief efforts in Haiti.

In her interview with People Magazine, Sandra Bullock explained how she picked a name for new adoptee Louis Bardo Bullock. He’s named after the famed New Orleans jazz trumpet player Louis Armstrong. “New Orleans is his city, and he is going to know it inside and out.” Already we see Sandra Bullock giving a nod of acknowledgement to her new child’s racial heritage & place of birth. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new trend, one where people of privilege take the time to develop a cultural awareness of disadvantaged children before heading to the adoption center. It’d be nice to see the day when adoptions become post-racial, but until then we’ll let people like Sandra Bullock serve as the role model for future adoptive parents.

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