The following article appeared on TPM’s website on August 24, 2015 and came from a CBS interview of documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns. It is especially germane given that birtherism and birthright citizenship have become such a central issue in the GOP’s presidential platform. More so since Donald Trump has become the leading GOP candidate in the race for the White House. Here the article as written by Caitlan Cruz followed by the video interview with Burns.
“Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday that the birther movement, popularized by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, is a essentially a “more sophisticated” way of using the N-word.
“The birther movement — of which Donald Trump is one of the author’s of — is another politer way of saying the N-word. It’s just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever,” Burns told CBS. “He’s other, he’s different. What’s other and different about him? It turns out it’s the same old thing: It’s the color of his skin.”
America is not a post-racial society because of President Barack Obama’s election, he said.
“All of these tensions have been in place since the very beginning, even before the beginning, but we also notice that race is always there,” Burns said. “We pretend with the election of Barack Obama that we’re in some post-racial society. And of course, you know, we’re not.”
Burns also set the record straight on what started the Civil War, pushing back against the notion that it was about “state’s rights.” He pointed to South Carolina’s Articles of Secession. (South Carolina was the first state to secede.)
“It’s no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened. ‘Oh, it’s about state’s rights, it’s about nullification, it’s about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shape the north and the south,’ ” Burns said. “It is much more complicated than that, but essentially, the reason why we murdered each other … was over essentially the issue of slavery.”
Burns’ documentary “The Civil War” is set to air in ultra-high definition for five nights on PBS starting Sept. 7.