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John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Democratic Party Of Orange County Continue Push To Rename John Wayne Airport

Racist allegations retorted by Orange County leaders, Wayne family

By Evan Symon, June 29, 2020 5:12 pm

After the Democratic Party of Orange County passed a resolution last Friday to rename John Wayne Airport and to remove a statue of the actor from the airport grounds due to accusations of racism, the fight heated up on Monday with other county lawmakers and the Wayne family defending the movie icon.

A possible change for the Santa Ana airport

The push came after a rediscovery of a 1971 Playboy interview with Wayne in which he made highly charged and bigoted statements about African Americans.

“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,” said Wayne in the 1971 interview. “I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves.”

Wayne also mentioned his feelings on Native Americans, which were also called bigoted.

I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. The so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival,” added Wayne in the interview. “There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”

The interview with Wayne, spurred by the continuing removal of monuments and positive recognition for those involved with the subjugation of other races and espousing racist views, became the main catalyst for Friday’s resolution. The George Floyd protests were also cited as another reason for the change as well, as those protests invigorated the recent string of renamings and monument removals.

“There have been past efforts to get this done and now we’re putting our name and our backing into this to make sure there is a name change,” said Democratic Party of Orange County Chairwoman Ada Briceno. “We need to restore the airport to it’s original name, Orange County Airport.”

Many opposing the name change

Many Orange County Republican leaders said over the weekend that such a name change would not happen, with many County residents also opposing the move.

John Wayne and Dean Martin in “Rio Bravo.” (Photo: Youtube)

On Monday, Wayne’s family joined the opposition against the name change, insisting that Wayne himself was not racist or bigoted.

“Let me make one thing clear: John Wayne was not a racist,” said John Wayne’s Son, Ethan Wayne, in an interview with Fox News. “I know that term is casually tossed around these days, but I take it very seriously. I also understand how we got to this point.

In an interview with the Globe, historian Diana Greene explained that it usually takes more than one bad comment for change to happen.

“Let’s look at three people who have had their name or likeness removed from California recently: Jefferson Davis, Christopher Columbus, and Junipero Serra.

Davis was the leader of a nation that split from the U.S. and promoted slavery. That’s treason and slavery, a high-crime and an undeniably racist action. Columbus subjugated native people. Serra did the same on a much smaller scale, and in his mind, he was doing the right thing to ‘save’ them.

Now look at Wayne. It was the one interview. All the rest had years of numerous, in some instances, tens of thousands of well documented instances.

It was bad what he said. It was terrible. But it was one interview he showed remorse over. He was sorry, and by all accounts, it was just bad day and he said stupid things. It was like how celebrities said racist things on Twitter nowadays and immediately apologized once they realized what they said was wrong. Celebrity chef Paula Deen used a racial slur in 2013, but she was forgiven after some time. She showed remorse, and even Jimmy Carter urged forgiveness.

Wayne became an American icon, made many movies, gave millions to Orange County and to cancer research, and so much more. We need to balance all that to a single interview he gave. If more came out, and those views really disenfranchised people, well, ok, that would change the conversation.

But right now they want the name changed based on one interview. You can’t judge someone entirely on a single, short conversation. That’s not really balanced. That’s not how historians build a full picture of someone.

Does he deserve to have his name taken down? Possibly, but we need to see way more evidence to make an informed decision.”

The conversation over possibly changing the airports name is expected to continue this week.

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5 thoughts on “Democratic Party Of Orange County Continue Push To Rename John Wayne Airport

  1. The Democratic Party cancel culture is damning our nation to violent racism. When it is demanded we go back decades to scrutinize every word and every action by every person we are doomed. Consider that Sammy Davis Jr. campaigned with John Kennedy to get him elected. Kennedy then disinvited him (yes, Davis was initially invited) to entertain at his inauguration. Why? His sin was that he married a white woman. OK, Democrats we’re waiting.

  2. I do not know of one person that has said or done something that they have regretted. We must consider the accomplishments of the man’s life and his gifts to our culture and society. To the Wayne family, I am thankful for the life of John Wayne.

  3. What happened to the democratic party giving into these small anti American groups? What ever happened to working for the citizens? This is a disgrace to all of us and our American heritage.

  4. If this is a must it should be Santa Ana to match the CITY not the County and match the airport code SNA, Crazy to dust off a remark of 50 years ago .

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