• 'Mary Poppins' chimney sweep 'blackface' dance is racist, claims academic
    Movies
    Ben Arnold

    'Mary Poppins' chimney sweep 'blackface' dance is racist, claims academic

    The chimney sweep dance in Mary Poppins, led by Dick van Dyk’s affable jack-of-all-trades Burt, harks back to ‘blackface’ tropes, an academic has claimed. In an article in the New York Times, Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, a professor of English and gender studies professor at Oregon’s Linfield College, has said that in the book by PL Travers, the sequence signifies ‘racial panic’. Pollack-Pelzner flatly calls the scene ‘blacking up’, and while it may seem innocuous, it has other more troubling connotations.

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