LOS ANGELES: California lawmakers voted down a resolution aimed at honoring legendary actor John Wayne, after opponents accused him of being a racist.
The resolution would have declared May 26—the screen icon’s birthday—”John Wayne Day,” but several Latino and black lawmakers objected to the proposal, citing comments by Wayne that they said were racist toward blacks and Native Americans.
Assemblyman Matthew Harper had submitted the motion, which described Wayne—nicknamed the “Duke”—as the “prototypical American hero, symbolizing such traits as self-reliance, grace under pressure, resolve, and patriotism.”
However assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez complained that Wayne’s movies included “a lot of slaughtering of Native Americans” and that the actor had sanctioned the white occupation of Indian lands, the daily Sacramento Bee reported.
In a widely-reported 1971 interview with Playboy, Wayne also shared his thoughts on race relations and discrimination.
“With a lot of blacks, there’s quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so,” he was quoted as saying. “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,” he added.