Ken Burns: Donald Trump’s birtherism — a “politer way of saying the ‘N-word'” — proves America isn’t remotely “post-racial”Historians in the News
tags: election 2016, Ken Burns, Trump
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, esteemed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns carefully explained to those who don’t believe the primary cause of the Civil War was slavery exactly why they’re incorrect.
“If you read South Carolina’s articles of secession,” Burns began, “the first state to secede, the birthplace of secession, home of the original fire-eaters — they do not mention states’ rights, they mention slavery, slavery, slavery.”
“That we have to remember,” he argued, though he admitted that it’s also more complicated than that. Still, Burns continued, “that’s the reason we murdered each other, why more than two percent of our population, more than 750,000 Americans died, more than all the wars from the Revolution to Afghanistan combined, was essentially over the issue of slavery.”
The problem, Burns said, is that “we’ve grown up as country with a lot of powerful symbols of the Civil War in popular culture [like] ‘Birth of a Nation’ — D.W. Griffiths’ classic — and ‘Gone with the Wind.'” Both of those films postulate that “the Ku Klux Klan, which is a homegrown terrorist organization, was actually a heroic force in the story of the Civil War. So, it’s no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened — ‘it’s about states’ rights,’ ‘it’s about nullification,’ ‘it’s about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shaped the North and the South.'” ...