Academic says 1964 "Mary Poppins" film promotes 'blackface' during chimney sweep scene

    Photo: Walt Disney Productions via MGN Online

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WSBT) - Social media is in uproar after a U.S. academic accused Disney's 1964 classic film "Mary Poppins" of promoting 'blackface' in the famous chimney sweeping scene.

    In an opinion piece that first appeared in the New York Times, professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner writes that Mary Poppins "blacks up" when her face is covered in soot and rather than wiping it off, she proceeds to cover her face with even more and dances with Bert and his children on the rooftop.

    Pollack-Pelzer says that this may seem innocent but contains dark, racially-motivated undertones.

    "We’re in on the joke, such as it is: These aren’t really black Africans; they’re grinning white dancers in blackface," he writes, calling the scene a "parody of black menace."

    Pollack-Pelzner goes on to say,

    Even if these characters’ shared name is accidental, it speaks to a larger point: Disney has long evoked minstrelsy for its topsy-turvy entertainments — a nanny blacking up, chimney sweeps mocking the upper classes, grinning lamplighters turning work into song.

    Many fans have taken to social media to argue against this claim, calling it 'madness' and 'insulting,' among other things.

    Where do you stand with this?

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