Social media is in an uproar after a literature professor wrote that the classic 1964 film "Mary Poppins" is racist, accusing actress Julie Andrews of "blacking up" her face with soot while dancing with chimney sweeps.
Professor Daniel Pollack Pelzner wrote in a NY Times op-ed titled "'Mary Poppins,' and a Nanny’s Shameful Flirting With Blackface" refers to the iconic scene where Poppins (Juile Andrews) dances with Dick Van Dyke's character Bert on a rooftop to the song "Step in Time".
"When the magical nanny … accompanies her young charges, Michael and Jane Banks, up their chimney, her face gets covered in soot, but instead of wiping it off, she gamely powders her nose and cheeks even blacker," Pollack-Pelzner wrote.
Pollack-Pelzner, who teaches literature at Linfield College linked the iconic scene to racism present in P.L. Travers' novels. The professor says the chimney sweeps in the books "blackened faces with racial caricatures."
As a result, many on Twitter responded to the claim with thoughts of their own:
Mary Poppins wasn’t flirting with black face! It was soot in their faces from being a chimney!!! Stopped spreading racism claims on non racist things like this!!!— Jennifer Conway (@jencon1978) January 31, 2019
End of the world when Hollywood thinks Mary Poppins is racist— Amanda Eliasch nickname The Countess Ratbag (@amandaeliasch) February 4, 2019
People are searching for racism like it's oil. Racism has become a commodity, figuratively speaking. If it were a literal commodity, however, it's value would be through the roof at this moment in history. https://t.co/Ygsm06jtC0— Coleman Hughes (@coldxman) February 4, 2019
To read the entire op-ed, click here.