Of White Snow and Sooty Sweeps

Feb 4, 2019 | 2 comments

Early Morning Out My Window

Sometime in the early morning hours I woke up to find that the world of Oysterville had turned white.  The rhododendrons and lilac trees and the railing of our porch were blanketed in three or four inches of snow.  I almost couldn’t wait for morning light so I could go outside and see beyond what the porch light revealed.

I went back to a dozy reverie until the alarm went off and our day began in earnest.  Over coffee Nyel asked if I’d seen the latest comment by an academic who suggests that the ‘Steps in Time’ scene in the Mary Poppins movie is racist.  According to Metro News:  Classic Disney film Mary Poppins has been branded ‘racist’ by a university professor who believes the scene with Mary and Bert dancing with the chimney sweeps features blackface.

The  university professor making these claims is Daniel Pollack-Pelzner,  an English and gender studies professor at Oregon’s Linfield College who, says their website “is a member of the faculty at the University of California Dickens Project and is the Shakespeare Scholar for the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association.”

Tracks Left by the Deer People

If those really are his credentials and if the Metro News story is correct, then shame on Professor Pollack-Pelzer!  Surely, he’s read Oliver Twist.  Surely, he knows something about chimney sweeps and soot.  Surely, he is trying to make a name for himself by taking a quantum bigoted leap equating Mary Poppins and Bert and the dance of the soot-covered sweeps to a black-faced racist parody.

My mind went back into my snowy reverie. So much more pleasant there, having coffee with the hummingbird at his feeder.  And, as I gazed out at our snow-covered world, I wondered if there might be another professor somewhere, maybe a meteorologist, who might claim that the weather gods are racist for causing snow to be white… Or maybe, soot was made to be black on purpose… Or… wotthehell (as Mehitabel would say) is wrong with people these days?


  1. Nancy Holden

    I was surprised to see the hummingbird — I love them but up in the
    North Georgia mountains they head south for the winter. Always hate to
    see them go !!

  2. memi

    Your response should be read by everyone. It’s perfect. Of course there is soot in chimneys and of course faces get black. Plus, ChimChimCheree is a Classic!!


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