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Mary Poppins now under fire for alleged racism!

KentB3

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
An Oregon college professor recently slammed Mary Poppins for a scene he considered racist. Here is a link to this article:

 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
An Oregon college professor recently slammed Mary Poppins for a scene he considered racist. Here is a link to this article:

Stop reading or quoting the Daily Mail. It's tabloid journalism at its best and plain old fake news at its worst. And its usually at its worst.

The article in the Daily Mail plays up the original author's regrettable use of 'shameful' for the use of tropes which do indeed have historical racists origins, but which the film sort of whitewashes. And the person who, in the movie Mary Poppins, is racist, namely, the Admiral who uses the unpolitic word, "Hottentot", is portrayed as a doddering old fool who is in the wrong.

The original article in the NY Times goes into a valid critique of the original Travers' books which do include the ingrained and unconscious racism of the times and how Travers herself changed the books to undo some unfortunate scenes. The article also references the racist tropes of Hollywood (and Disney) which are embarrassing by modern standards.

So, when one article says Poppins is flirting with blackface and that becomes branding Poppins as a racist, well, to paraphrase Mary Poppins herself, you can't judge an article by its clickbait headline.

 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
It's really getting ridiculous. Any 5-yr-old could understand that the scene and characters were not mimicking a race, but an occupation dealing with smoke and soot.
And any adult alive watching Mary Poppins in the theaters when it was released could understand that a racial slur was used against the chimney sweeps.

To its credit, the MP movies purposefully upend the stereotypes. They make chimney sweeps, a dirty job done by the underclass, a profession that gives you luck when you shake their hands (ewww!) or blow them a kiss (double ewww!).
 

KentB3

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm against racism and I will never condone it, but Mary Poppins is simply not racist. It was a innocent scene in a family film, and the people that are claiming that it is racist should realize that there are far worse examples out there of actual racism. Nothing is safe from the PC police anymore.

By the professor's standards I probably qualify as a racist because I have a black t shirt in my closet.
I read that this professor is from Oregon, which was once often regarded as hippie country. It may be possible that his parents were flower children themselves, and this may have largely influenced his radical views!
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
I read something about that, but, I'm not sure what about it is connected with race. They seemed to imply that the Chimney Sweep scenes were that because of the faces covered (not completely) by soot from cleaning chimney's. It seemed to me at the time that this was said by someone ignorant of how chimneys used to be cleaned and had to be cleaned to prevent fires. Unless they somehow get much more specific I don't see this even going to trial. But, who know, people, especially this country, has their collective heads so far up their butts that they have to brush their teeth through their navels.
 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
I'm against racism and I will never condone it, but Mary Poppins is simply not racist. It was a innocent scene in a family film, and the people that are claiming that it is racist should realize that there are far worse examples out there of actual racism. Nothing is safe from the PC police anymore.

By the professor's standards I probably qualify as a racist because I have a black t shirt in my closet.
I read that this professor is from Oregon, which was once often regarded as hippie country. It may be possible that his parents were flower children themselves, and this may have largely influenced his radical views!
Did you even read his original article?
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
I am now of the opinion that people will find "offense" over any thing and every thing. I said on another thread that one of the rides in Epcot was "2 days older than Christ" which evidently is offensive to Christians world wide. go figure. Personally I think the professor is an opportunist, with all the broo haw over the Virginia govenor and those black face pictures, he's taking this opportunity to now "weigh" in.

Next he'll be saying how it's anti-chimney sweeps.

I'm sure if you look at every movie every made you can find something to call, racist, homophobic, misogynistic or any number of "isms"
 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
I am now of the opinion that people will find "offense" over any thing and every thing. I said on another thread that one of the rides in Epcot was "2 days older than Christ" which evidently is offensive to Christians world wide. go figure. Personally I think the professor is an opportunist, with all the broo haw over the Virginia govenor and those black face pictures, he's taking this opportunity to now "weigh" in.

Next he'll be saying how it's anti-chimney sweeps.

I'm sure if you look at every movie every made you can find something to call, racist, homophobic, misogynistic or any number of "isms"
Did you read his article linked above?
 

KBLovesDisney

Well-Known Member
I do believe that these types of people just don't have enough drama in their own lives and have to stir the hornets nest to cause unnecessary and migraines worth of drama just to get their fix. Now is it for just "Troll-dom" or are they actually to the point in their life where every little minute gesture of subject sensitivity is causing them pain?

Don't know man. I just don't know. People weird me out. Oh wait! I am being anti-extraterrestrial humanist! :eek: (Yeah, I know not a word now. Wait for it.)

🤦
 

Tick Tock

Well-Known Member
To the professor's credit, there was a scene from Mary Poppins which contained some highly insensitive rhetoric. Thankfully Disney made the wise choice and had it cut from the final product.

 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
I did he said he was upset because she powdered her nose and her face got blacker. That's what i would expect to happen if she's going through a dirty london chimney. What's racist about that?
Well, firstly, the professor is very wrong to call that 'blackface.' Typical blackface was done to play the part of a Black person, usually a slave. While some forms of blackface had the non-vindictive intent for White people to perform ethno-African music and dance (what we would call cultural appropriation), way too often it was to mock those of African descent.

So in Mary Poppins, neither Mary not the chimney sweeps are in any way acting like any ethnicity of color. They retain their usual accents and dance in typical 'White' dance hall fashion while singing a middle of the road Broadway-esque tune. That ain't blackface.

However... the professor points out that in Travers' books, she had ordinary White British folk make insulting remarks about chimney sweeps. And how did they disparage them? By likening them to people of African descent. That's racist. Period. There's nothing wrong about being from African descent or having dark skin. The professor points out that later editions of her books removed those racist remarks.

Now, getting back to Mary Poppins. We find that we do indeed have a White British person make an insulting remark about the chimney sweeps. The Admiral calls them "Hottentots." While technically a correct term for certain South African peoples in the mid-20th century (now deprecated, use the actual tribal name); it was widely used, however, pejoratively. In fact, he regarded Hottentots as a people that one should open fire on. So, yeah, he wanted to kill what he thought were Africans because they were Africans because he thought the chimney sweeps' skin was black. That's racist.

Now, to the movie's credit, the Admiral is depicted as batty and perhaps a bit senile. And the movie goes out of its way to portray sweeps as lucky and jolly. Although... that starts to get a bit close to the racist tropes of "the happy negro" or "the magical negro" (cf. Song of the South), but applied to sweeps. So, don't feel bad about the sweeps' horrible working conditions and their black lungs... they're magically jolly!!
 

Scrooged

Well-Known Member
Well, firstly, the professor is very wrong to call that 'blackface.' Typical blackface was done to play the part of a Black person, usually a slave. While some forms of blackface had the non-vindictive intent for White people to perform ethno-African music and dance (what we would call cultural appropriation), way too often it was to mock those of African descent.

So in Mary Poppins, neither Mary not the chimney sweeps are in any way acting like any ethnicity of color. They retain their usual accents and dance in typical 'White' dance hall fashion while singing a middle of the road Broadway-esque tune. That ain't blackface.

However... the professor points out that in Travers' books, she had ordinary White British folk make insulting remarks about chimney sweeps. And how did they disparage them? By likening them to people of African descent. That's racist. Period. There's nothing wrong about being from African descent or having dark skin. The professor points out that later editions of her books removed those racist remarks.

Now, getting back to Mary Poppins. We find that we do indeed have a White British person make an insulting remark about the chimney sweeps. The Admiral calls them "Hottentots." While technically a correct term for certain South African peoples in the mid-20th century (now deprecated, use the actual tribal name); it was widely used, however, pejoratively. In fact, he regarded Hottentots as a people that one should open fire on. So, yeah, he wanted to kill what he thought were Africans because they were Africans because he thought the chimney sweeps' skin was black. That's racist.

Now, to the movie's credit, the Admiral is depicted as batty and perhaps a bit senile. And the movie goes out of its way to portray sweeps as lucky and jolly. Although... that starts to get a bit close to the racist tropes of "the happy negro" or "the magical negro" (cf. Song of the South), but applied to sweeps. So, don't feel bad about the sweeps' horrible working conditions and their black lungs... they're magically jolly!!
@MisterPenguin I like the cut of your jib. You've nailed the history, nailed the article as clickbait and nailed the general sentiment that I was going to thoughtfully write up. Now-not having a reason to do that, I need to go find something equally asinine as this ridiculous Professor's claim to complain about.

Cheers to @MisterPenguin
 
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