"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 are the shocking words of television legend John Wayne. The actor became famous for his roles in movies like "True Grit" and other westerns and became the living breathing symbol of American male masculinity. Down to earth, gritty, unabashed and unashamed — but also, very, very racist.
The "hero," who often played a cowboy fighting Native Americans on screen, also told Playboy that he saw nothing wrong with the fact that Americans took the Native Americans' land.
"Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."
These days only a certain generation of people could recognize his face in a crowd, but that doesn't mean he's been forgotten. In fact, his name greets visitors as they arrive into Orange County's John Wayne Airport (SNA).
John Wayne's offensive words come from a 1971 interview with Playboy. The excerpt has resurfaced in recent days and has caused many to wonder if the self-proclaimed bigot deserves the honor of an airport bearing his name. Orange County already struggles with a reputation of exclusivity and segregation, is this the person they want to represent their county?
John Wayne's hateful comments and beliefs are as inexcusable now as they were then. And while he can be commended for his contribution to the film industry, his ignorance and racism shouldn't be ignored.
Does John Wayne, deserve to be in the company of other American heroes like Medgar Evers (JAN) and Charles Lindbergh (SAN)? Probably not. It's time Orange County decide what kind of message do they want to send when people arrive at SNA. It's time OC renamed their airport. Sign the petition.