Mary Poppins is widely considered to be one of the most influential movies in the entire history of cinema and thus becoming a landmark film for Disney – the biggest movie studio in the world.
Hollywood just doesn’t make movies like that anymore with masterful performances by Julie Andrews and the hilarious Dick Van Dyke back in 1964. Mary Poppins is the type of movie that is timeless and still appeals to kids even today.
And when movies like that become timeless someone always has to concoct fictional controversies like one liberal who accused the movie of racism during this iconic scene.
The politically correct culture in America nowadays is unlike anything we’ve seen in our country’s past and has escalated to a level that is unbearable and unfathomable.
There is a long history of fans and critics that analyze art and then effectively grasp for straws that aren’t there. In other words, their analysis is way off the mark and in no way was it remotely close to what the artist intended.
And that’s exactly what happened with Mary Poppins recently by a liberal college professor.
A professor from Linfield College in Oregon accused the filmmakers of being racist in the iconic chimney sweep scene when the characters got soot on their face. Prof. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner actually had the audacity to say that the character Mary Poppins was racist because she was “blacking up.”
Of course, the New York Times published his drivel.
He wrote, “One of the more indelible images from the 1964 film is of Mary Poppins blacking up, her face gets covered in soot, but instead of wiping it off, she gamely powders her nose and cheeks even blacker. This might seem like an innocuous comic scene if Travers’s novels didn’t associate chimney sweeps’ blackened faces with racial caricature.”
No, that’s exactly what it is. It’s innocuous. There’s nothing more to read into it other than it’s a slapstick comedic scene.
But the liberal college professor didn’t stop there and even had to reach back to a 1943 film called Mary Poppins Opens the Door where he claims a housemaid can be heard saying “don’t touch me, you black heathen,” during the chimney sweep scene.
The point he makes is that chimney sweeping and black soot have racist overtones because he also mentions that the cook in that particular scene threatens to quit and shouts that if a “Hottentot” goes near her then she’ll leave. Apparently, “Hottentot” is an ethnic slur for Khoikhoi or indigenous nomadic pastoralists of South Africa.
But it’s important to note that the time difference between those two films is 21 years and that word was not used in the 1964 version. It could very well be that they wanted to homage the original Mary Poppins’ film while removing the racial caricature and never paid mind to the fact the character with black soot on their face would be even remotely considered racist 50+ years later.
That happens all the time. Dumbo – another Disney film – was criticized immensely for the portrayal of the crows as African Americans in the movie back in 1941.
You can bet that the new live-action Dumbo film by director Tim Burton slated to come out at the end of March will remove those stereotypes.
This liberal professor pretends like the filmmakers for Mary Poppins were actively looking to be racist and to be highly controversial with that particular scene. That’s not the case.
Why would an artist go out of their way to make a racial statement like that? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to do something like that because there’s nothing to gain.