Actor John Wayne’s racist statements from the past are coming back to haunt his legacy.
Students at the University of Southern California are demanding that the Easy Rider actor’s exhibit honoring him, be removed after Wayne’s Playboy magazine interview from 1971 started making rounds again.
Wayne was 63 when he gave the interview, and it is filled with rather racist thoughts coupled with his strong beliefs in white supremacy and bigoted notions about how he felt about people of color and gay people, The Independent reports.
Wayne suggested that there’s empirical evidence that Black folks aren’t capable of developing the same level of smarts as our white counterparts:
“The academic community has developed certain tests that determine whether the Blacks are sufficiently equipped scholastically. But some Blacks have tried to force the issue and enter college when they haven’t passed the tests and don’t have the requisite background.”
The interviewer asks Wayne if systemic inequalities can be fixed without governmental advantages provided to minorities, to which he responds: “I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves. Now, I’m not condoning slavery. It’s just a fact of life… 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 was also quoted saying flatly: “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”
Wayne also didn’t mince words when he asserted, “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, [Native Americans]. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival.”
He stated that there were “great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves”.
Student activists are demanding the removal of his posters and memorabilia honoring him that have been on display since 2011.
They have stated it needs to be removed because of Wayne’s “legacy of endorsing white supremacy and the removal of indigenous people.”
The students’ have also rallied to have the name of Orange County’s John Wayne Airport changed.