27 May 2013

Movie Review: Polly

If you're like me, you have heard this movie is fun, darling, and a good way to gently introduce children to racism. You may have seen the same cute clip on YouTube: "Sweet Little Angel Eyes". I've wanted this movie since we brought "M" home. I finally splurged and paid the forty-something dollars to buy it from amazon.com because I had heard such good things about it and wanted my "M" and "P" to have it growing up. I was disappointed.

It is a cute movie. The story line is innocent enough - there's a creek that separates the "white" side of the town from the "black" side of town, the bridge crossing the creek was burned down years ago, along comes Polly who wins everyone's hearts, crosses the creek, and brings racial unity to the whole town. I cringed a few times when certain things pertaining to racism were said, but like I mentioned, I figured it'd be a good way to help enlighten the children about racism. But then one word changed my whole view of the movie. That word was said, then again, then a third time (if I remember correctly). "Pickaninny".

Some may not see the significance of this word. Some may see it as innocent. Some may have never heard of it. Growing up I heard the word being used by adults and it was always derogatory. The way it was used was the same as the "N"-word, but directed at a child. Google the word and you will see just how awful it is. Where my children grow up I can say they most likely will never hear that word. I'd like to keep it that way. I heard it said on the movie and wanted to snatch it our the DVD player and throw it out the window. I was shocked. Not shocked that it was in the movie - it was made years ago and to directly address racism during the civil rights movement time period - but that so many would recommend the movie for children now-a-days knowing that word was in it.

Yes, we have to teach our children about racism. I do not believe this means we have to teach them bad words to do so. In my opinion it is like any other bad word. We don't tell them the word to teach them about it. We wait until they hear it and then we have a discussion about it. I do not believe the word "pickaninny" is a word that would come up in my children's lives unless they are to watch this movie. So we're not watching it at our home. Waste of a whole lot of money.

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