An English and Gender Studies professor has branded the classic Disney film, ‘Mary Poppins’ racist. The professor argues that the scene where Mary and Bert dances with the chimney sweep feature blackface.
We live in a world of diversity. Regardless of gender or race, and everyone can walk down the streets without fearing of their safety.
But as was demonstrated when a cinematic classic ‘Mary Poppins’ was dubbed racist by an American professor for its use of blackface, it seems that some people haven’t embraced the full diversity yet.
‘Mary Poppins’ is a beloved film and has achieved global success. It was even nominated for academy awards.
The magic flying nanny was actually nominated for 13 Oscar Awards, with Julie Andrew winning the Best Actress.
Although the classic film wasn’t nominated for the Best Picture, its star, Julie Andrew, took home an Oscar for her dynamic performance.
The film continues to hold a special place in the heart of many, and very few films from the same era as ‘Mary Poppins’ can attain such honor.
‘Mary Poppins’ has also been adapted into a Broadway musical and recently received a star-studded sequel.
The popularity of the film has also grown in the recent months after the release of its sequel, ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ which stars Emily Blunt in her primary role.
‘Mary Poppins’ is truly a cinematic treasure.
It’s a perfect mix of animation, live-action, moral lesson, and show tunes, which makes the film a favorite for all ages.
But as revealed by an English and Gender Studies professor at Linfield College, Oregon, not everybody is a fan of this beloved film.
The opinion from this professor, Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, has led to many people to start re-thinking of their favorite childhood film, while others are raging against his view.
He claims that our favorite ‘Mary Poppins’ film is racist.
The professor wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled “‘Mary Poppins,’ and a Nanny’s Shameful Flirting With Blackface,” where he slammed a dance scene in the film, precisely where Bert (Dick Van Dyke) and Poppins dance on the rooftop while covered with chimney sweeps.
Note the word ‘flirting’ on the title. The professor isn’t saying that the characters are racist. Nor is he suggesting that Emily Blunt or Julie Andrew are racist.
But he points out that people do and say racist things in the original P.L Travers Mary Poppins book.
According to the professor, although the 1964 classic film may not be overtly racist, it carries racist baggage on its storyline, specifically the chimney soot on the faces of white people characters.
“The 1964 film replays this racial panic in a farcical key. When the dark figures of the chimney sweeps step in time on a roof, a naval buffoon, Admiral Boom, shouts, ‘We’re being attacked by Hottentots!’ and orders his cannon to be fired at the ‘cheeky devils.’”
And the professor has turned what was once an energetic and bombastic musical number into a controversial message on race and social hierarchy.
And fans haven’t reacted kindly to the professor and his academic analysis.