“Mary Poppins” is no longer available to all audiences in the United Kingdom

On Friday, the British Board of Film Classification raised the Disney film's rating from U, meaning it contains no “material that is likely to offend or harm,” to PG (for ages 8 and up) due to “discriminatory language.”

This seems to be because of one of the characters in it Mary Poppins The discriminatory term “Hottentots” (referring to the indigenous nation who lived near the Cape of Good Hope) is used twice in the film. The word is a “racially insensitive” term for an indigenous group in South Africa. The word is used in the film by Admiral Boom (Reginald Owen), when referring to chimney sweeps whose faces are covered in a black powdery substance.

“Through our research into racism and discrimination, and recent research into classification guidelines, we understand that a major concern for people, especially parents, is the possibility of exposing children to discriminatory language or behavior that they may find annoying or repeat the potential offense without realizing,” a classification board spokesperson says. “Therefore, some language or behavior is not permitted in films we rate for all audiences.

For those who are not experts on colonialism, there is nothing wrong with the word Hottentot, as there is with the terms Bantu, Zulu and Bushmen, so the decision seems a bit convoluted. The term appears to be used in other films, e.g Wizard of OzAlthough they haven't figured it out yet.

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