Local lawmakers in Santa Ana, California, want to rename John Wayne Airport due to the actor's racist views. If the movement, spearheaded by the Democratic Party of Orange County, is successful, the airport would revert to its previous name, Orange County Airport. When fans of the late Hollywood icon, whose real name was Marion Robert Morrison, learned about the desire for a name change, they were absolutely furious.
The backlash stems from Wayne's infamous Playboy interview published in May 1971. Wayne, who was 64 years old at the time, was discussing the education of Black people in America. As a transcript of the article available via the University of Virginia shows, he claimed most Black people were uneducated and also refused to acknowledge that African Americans faced any sort of setbacks due to their race.
"With a lot of Blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the Blacks," Wayne told Playboy in response to a question about activist Angela Davis. "I believe in white supremacy until the Blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people."
Wayne went on the say that Black people had the same rights to public education as everyone else, but was then pressed to about how to "rectify the inequities in our educational system." Wayne seemingly did not understand that institutional racism limited the prospects of people of color, especially at the time.
"What good would it do to register anybody in a class of higher algebra or calculus if they haven't learned to count? There has to be a standard," Wayne said. "I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves. Now, I'm not condoning slavery. It's just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can't play football with the rest of us. I will say this, though: I think any Black who can compete with a white today can get a better break than a white man. I wish they'd tell me where in the world they have it better than right here in America. "
Additionally, Wayne claimed that Black people had just an many opportunities to learn trades in the entertainment industry, saying, "It's just as hard for a white man to get a card in the Hollywood craft unions."
Many of Wayne's admirers either do not know about these comments or are attributing his views to being "of that time." Others simply don't think his vast Hollywood career should be soiled due to these racist remarks. Regardless of their reasoning, fans of "The Duke" are absolutely fuming over the decision. Scroll through to see some of their responses to the controversy.
Hell, NO! The Duke is pure Americana!— 🇺🇸Paula~#LiveFreeOrDie 💯% #MAGA🇺🇸 (@ProudNannyof3) June 28, 2020
Just when I think this country couldn’t get any more stupid..I open Twitter to see them attacking John Wayne..Fuck California.. https://t.co/q4VNrUfoL8— Taylor (@MemphisLady1989) June 28, 2020
Now they want to rename John Wayne Airport. Why? Because when you give in to everything they do not stop. They keep demanding more. Have some balls and do what their parents could not.
Say no.— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) June 27, 2020
Just saw that they want to take John Wayne’s name off of the airport in California He was a great American patriot. What the hell is going on. Take away names if famous people n statues. What is our country coming to. My hero pic.twitter.com/WJN0TwrpuB— Linda Shannon (@Lindasha44) June 28, 2020
John Wayne was NOT a racist!
California won’t be outstupideded! pic.twitter.com/Bqq5zJa30C— Laura Barbarino ⭐️ (@ParkAveSJC) June 28, 2020
John Wayne is an American hero. pic.twitter.com/UQh8rPqHPw— Mr. GoodKat 🙈🙉🙊 (@JackSlater__) June 28, 2020