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WATCH: Ken Burns explains how America has always been a racist country

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Ken Burns speaks to CBS (screen grab)

When considering major themes in American history, which he often covers, filmmaker Ken Burns put racism at the top of the list.

“I think the American question of freedom is a big one, the tension between individual freedom and collective freedom is a big one, but I think the sub-theme of American history is race,” Burns told “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert.

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“We were founded on the idea that all men were created equal, but oops—the guy who wrote that owned more than 100 human beings and didn’t see in his lifetime to free any one of them; didn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy. And so it set us on a journey where we are constantly having to struggle not with race, but racism.”

According to the filmmaker, Trump taking two days to disavow the Ku Klux Klan is just one of many signs that racism still exists in America.

Burns’ new documentary is about Jackie Robinson, recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and the winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949. Robinson’s legacy represents an end to the baseball color line—60 years of segregation in professional baseball.

“Jackie Robinson was the first African-American baseball player in the white major leagues,” Colbert told the audience, and whose legacy, like many historical figures, said Burns, is “smothered in mythology.”

“We thought it might be possible to liberate him from the barnacles of sentimentality that attach, because what Jackie Robinson has to teach us now is exactly the same as when he was alive,” Burns explained. “There’s nothing new under the sun. Human nature doesn’t change, it just randomly superimposes itself on the random chaos of events.”

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Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson documentary talks about Confederate flags, stop and frisk, the experience African Americans have driving, and thburning black churches—essentially Black Lives Matter.

“So, if we’re curious, but are not comfortable talking today, having a courageous conversation about race, let’s look at Jackie Robinson’s life and see how many of the same tropes that are part of our life today Jackie addresses. [He’s] not only the most important person in baseball, but the most important person in American sports.”

“And a great player,” added Colbert.

For the documentary, Ken Burns interviewed influencers ranging from Carl Erskine to the Obamas.

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Watch: Ken Burns discusses Trump, Obama and Jackie Robinson on The Late Show.


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2020 Election

Melania Trump turns her back on #BeBest campaign — and praises husband’s insane tweets at MAGA rally

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First lady Melania Trump on Tuesday suggested her husband's unhinged and factually-challenged tweets were actually a good thing for America.

The comments came in stark contrast to the message of her #BeBest campaign against online bullying.

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The crowd applauded.

"I do not always agree what -- they way he says things, but it is important to him that he speaks directly to the people he serves," she said.

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BUSTED: Utah Republican took at least $135,000 in illegal campaign donations

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On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Burgess Owens, a former football player and Fox News commentator running for Congress in Utah, accepted at least $135,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

"Mr. Owens ... reported bringing in a staggering $2.5 million during the third quarter fund-raising period, one of the biggest hauls for a Republican congressional candidate. But a review of his campaign’s financial disclosures showed that at least $135,500 — about 40 percent of the cash his campaign currently has on hand in the final stretch — was ineligible because the donors had contributed more than the legal limit," reported Catie Edmondson. "Individuals may donate up to $2,800 to a federal candidate per election, according to limits published by the Federal Election Commission."

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Kris Kobach asks for allegedly fraudulent Bannon wall funds to be ‘unfrozen’ so he can get paid for his work promoting it

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On Tuesday, Law & Crime reported that former Kansas Secretary of State and longtime Trump ally Kris Kobach was rebuffed by federal prosecutors for trying to "inject" himself into the fraud case against former Trump campaign chairman and adviser Steve Bannon.

"Kobach ... is apparently looking to unfreeze We Build the Wall funds so he can get paid for the work he did," reported Matt Naham. "Kobach has attempted to do this [by] challenging a restraining order that 'intended to safeguard funds that will be subject to forfeiture following a conviction in this case[…].'"

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