Chim, Chim, Chiree

A recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times suggested, maybe it was time to scrutinize the Mary Poppins musical for unfair portrayal of African-Americans.

Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke will always be the main characters in my thinking. What was it about the two loveable chimney sweeps, the NYT author found offensive?

They danced and sang with soot smeared on their faces. Did the production deserve to be painted as racist?  Main characters, who were white, danced across rooftops.  Was it too similar to minstrel shows, where whites in blackface, exaggerated African-American speech and mannerisms for the sake of humor?

I didn’t see the connection. And from an informal survey, I don’t think very many other people did, either.  This fanciful, musical, romp from the past did not smack of racial insensitivity, in my opinion.  If the author’s intent was to be controversial, for controversies sake, It certainly fit the bill.

Image, http://www. culturecustodian.com/