In Orange County, California, politicians are demanding that the board of supervisors rename John Wayne Airport because of the actor’s previous racists remarks and “anti-LGBT and anti-indigenous views.”
Members of the Democratic Party of Orange County introduced a resolution as part of a national campaign to eliminate white supremacist symbols and names because “racist symbols produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma, particularly to black communities, people of color, and other oppressed groups.”
This particular controversy dates back to a conversation Wayne had with Playboy magazine in 1971.
Wayne was asked about activist Angela Davis, who says those who “would revoke her teaching credentials on ideological grounds are actually discriminating against her because she’s black.”
“With a lot of blacks,” Wayne says, “there’s quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can’t all of the sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. 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.”
He adds he doesn’t feel “guilty” about slaves in past generations but says he’s “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.”
He also addresses Native Americans, saying it was not “wrong in taking this great country away from them.”
Fred Smoller, an associate professor of political science at Chapman University, shares in an interview with KCBS-TV, “Orange County’s Confederate monument.” He believes the airport should return to its original name.
Initially, the Orange County Airport was changed to honor the actor on June 20, 1979.