Here’s the Background Story:
John Wayne’s impact on culture and cinema is rivaled by few. He changed the movie industry forever and became the face of the stereotypical American hero. Wayne’s legacy lives on to this day — including, apparently, a controversial Playboy interview that recently caught the media’s eye. Should this make a difference to the name of an airport?
What You Need to Know:
There’s a handful of questionable comments from the American hero found in the long-form interview from 1971. News outlets and the public have latched onto a few racist statements. Now there’s an outcry and public demand to rename the John Wayne Airport in Santa Anna. The airport (built in 1979) was dedicated to the iconic figure after he died of cancer. Should the John Wayne Airport be renamed in light of his unearthed social commentary?
Here are a few quotes dug up from the Playboy interview.
- “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”
- “Look, I’m sure there have been inequalities. If those inequalities are presently affecting any of the Indians now alive, they have a right to a court hearing. But what happened 100 years ago in our country can’t be blamed on us today.”
John Wayne’s son, Ethan, resents that people are picking a fight with his father. He claims that his dad is being quoted out of context. Americans took a different approach to race during the 60s and 70s. Ethan argues it’s unfair to condemn a few stirring comments from 50 years ago. Additionally, those comments are only a small fraction of the entire interview.
Ethan reminds us that his father received a Congressional Gold Medal and a Medal of Freedom from Nixon. John Wayne’s commitments to his community and society are numerous and profound. Taking John’s name off the Orange County airport would be a great injustice, according to his son.
This Is What Other People Think:
Poll: Should the John Wayne Airport Be Renamed?
1% Voted Yes
99% Voted No
What Do You Think?
There’s a motion to take down Confederate statues because of the racism associated with those people and the Civil War — some people believe John’s remarks are equivalent in scope. Are John Wayne’s racial comments enough to warrant his name being removed from an airport named in his honor?