Audiences of a certain generation have a particular soft spot for Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman’s Kindergarten Cop, which marked the first of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s brief forays into family-friendly comedy territory, and went on to earn a reputation as one of the actor’s most popular movies in the process.
As well as featuring some of the action icon’s most memorable big screen quotes in a career that’s been full of them, there’s just something so charming and inoffensively entertaining about Kindergarten Cop that still makes it ideal lazy Sunday afternoon viewing even 30 years later. However, that hasn’t stopped the PG-rated comedy from being pulled from an Oregon drive-in theater after facing accusations of romanticizing the idea of a police presence in schools and reinforcing racist stereotypes. Yes, you read that right, someone has leveled these claims at Kindergarten Cop.
Based entirely on her issues with the story, author and historian Lois Leveen more than likely hasn’t even seen the movie, which she blasted in a series of tweets which we’ve quoted below. Still, the Northwest Film Center, who operate the drive-in experience, have nonetheless pulled the cult classic from their lineup.
“There’s nothing entertaining about the presence of police in schools, which feeds the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline in which African American, Latinx, and other kids of color are criminalized rather than educated. Criminalizing of children increases dramatically when cops work in schools. Yes, Kindergarten Cop is only a movie. So are Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, but we recognize films like those are not ‘good family fun’. They are relics of how pop culture feeds racist assumptions. Kindergarten Cop romanticizes over-policing in the U.S.”
Society might be in the midst of a well-needed push for widespread social change, but let’s face it, comparing a light-hearted children’s comedy like Kindergarten Cop to the controversial likes of Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind is nothing short of insane. The entire concept of the movie is about an undercover cop protecting these children and improving their learning experience as a result, but people on the internet can make something out of nothing quicker than ever these days, which is why we find ourselves in the summer of 2020 trying to emphasize the point that Kindergarten Cop is most definitely not a movie built on systemic racism.