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

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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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With nation focused on pandemic, Trump Interior Dept. to greenlight killing of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens

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"Killing has no place in our National Wildlife Refuges."

President Donald Trump's National Park Service plans to finalize rules this week that will allow hunters in Alaska to kill bear cubs and wolf pups while they are in their dens, reversing Obama-era regulations meant to prevent destabilization of the state's biodiversity.

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Trump-loving mayor faces furious backlash after shrugging off George Floyd killing: ‘That man died of overdose or heart attack’

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In a post to Twitter this Tuesday, the mayor of a Mississippi town asked: "Why in the world would anyone choose to become a police officer in our society today?"

The tweet from Mayor Hal Marx, which was in reference to the death of George Floyd, prompted another Twitter user to respond: "Would be nice to get a few in there that understand reasonable force, when it’s needed, and don’t give the rest of them a bad reputation."

But as the Hattiesburg American points out, it was Marx's response that set Twitter on fire.

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After silence, Trump marks 100,000 virus deaths in US

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President Donald Trump on Thursday marked the "sad milestone" of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States, after his earlier silence prompted criticism that he was failing in his duty to console victims and their loved ones.

"We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000," Trump posted on Twitter, about 16 hours after the death toll passed the threshold according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

"To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!"

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