"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," Sandra Bullock says of son Louis
Credit: Nathan Denette/AP

Being a mom is Sandra Bullock‘s biggest responsibility.

In an interview with BET on Monday while promoting her film Our Brand Is Crisis, the actress said that she “absolutely” has prepared adopted son Louis for racism.

“It’s an open conversation we have. He fully understands what that means,” Bullock, 51, says. “He doesn’t understand why people judge each other based on color of the skin, but he knows they do.”

But that’s not the only thing she’s teaching her son.

“He also knows that there’s sexism, he knows that there’s homophobia – he knows a lot for a 5¾-year-old, but I think if you don’t start the conversation very early on, you’re doing them a disservice,” Bullock says. “I want him to know the truth, but I also want him to know the good in the world as well, but those are hard conversations to have.”

When asked if she finds that to be a difficult balance to strike, the Oscar winner immediately responds, “Not at all.”

“It’s not a conversation any parent wants to have with their child, 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,” she says. “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.”

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Bullock spoke further about these pressing issues as Monday’s press tour continued. In an interview with Reuters, she addressed sexism in Hollywood and Jennifer Lawrence‘s recent essay about the wage gap.

“I think the wage gap is a result of something bigger,” Bullock says. “I’ve said this so many times but no one can seem to give me an answer or wants to answer. It’s just, why are women thought of as less than? Why have we allowed that thought? And I’m blaming myself as well: Why have I allowed that thought process to be around me?”

She continues, “I think you need someone like Jennifer Lawrence, who’s hugely respected and successful, to stop and say, you know what, I know I have all these blessings, but here are the facts – it still happens to me.”

Bullock shares one of her own experiences with workplace sexism, saying, “It made me go, ‘Oh my god. Everything I just said was not even heard.’ … I knew that I was just merely a pawn, and that opened my eyes a lot. So thank god for Jennifer Lawrence and her ability to write and to point the finger at herself – she was incredibly, incredibly brave.”

Once again, Bullock is quick to consider how this issue – and speaking out about it and others – will affect her young son’s life.

“There’s a lot of public shaming going on these days when people speak truthfully, and I think that’s why everyone’s gotten really scared to voice an opinion,” she says. “And that makes me really sad for my son. Really sad.”