Tags: johnwayne | prejudice | playboy | orangecounty

LA Times Op-Ed: Rename John Wayne Airport Over '71 Racist Remarks

john wayne's image on magazine covers
Magazines owned by actor John Wayne are on display (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 24 February 2019 12:40 PM

A rereading of American acting legend John Wayne's 1971 Playboy interview is leading to a call for an airport baring his name to be rebranded, as Michael Hiltzik wrote in an L.A. Times op-ed.

"With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so," Wayne told Playboy in 1971. "But we can't all of a 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."

Those comments should force Orange County to take Wayne's name off its airport, according to Hiltzik in the Times.

"We're talking about Orange County's John Wayne Airport," he wrote. "It's long past the time that Wayne's name should come down.

". . . Orange County today is such an economically and ethnically diverse community that it's hard to justify asking any member of that community to board planes at an airport named after an outspoken racist and homophobe, with his strutting statue occupying a central niche in front of the concourse."

Wayne died at age 72 on June 11, 1979. His Playboy interview came at the age of 63.

"I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves," Wayne told Playbook. "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."

While Hiltzik's call might have its merits, "don't, like Wayne, become a reactionary," Madeline Fry argues in the Washington Examiner.

"Removing his name from Orange County's airport now only validates what many Americans are coming to believe: You can't say anything anymore, darn it, without being discovered and punished by the mob," she wrote. 

"If you want to rename the airport, fine. Find out where to get the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars it will take to rebrand and call it 'Orange County Airport' or 'Leo Fender.' But for goodness sake, not yet.

"Don't, like Wayne, become a reactionary."

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A rereading of American acting legend John Wayne's 1971 Playboy interview is leading to a call for an airport baring his name to be rebranded, as Michael Hiltzik wrote in an L.A. Times op-ed."With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent,...
johnwayne, prejudice, playboy, orangecounty
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2019-40-24
Sunday, 24 February 2019 12:40 PM
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