In another culture war clash that impacts travel, Orange County is considering dropping John Wayne from its airport name.
OC Democrats, Weary Of John Wayne 1971 Playboy Interview, Want His Name Dropped From SNA Airport
“Duke” was interviewed by Playboy magazine in 1971. The far-reaching interview touched on many issues of race and history, with Wayne offering the following quips:
On racial equality:
“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.”
“I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves.”
On Native Americans:
“I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. 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.”
You can read the full interview here (.pdf).
John Wayne Would Be Dropped From SNA Under Democrat Resolution
A resolution put forward by Orange County Democrats now calls for his name and statue to be removed from SNA:
“As Confederate statues and odes to Christopher Columbus are taken down across the country, Orange County must come to grips with its own tribute to a racially polarizing figure: John Wayne. The time has come to rename our airport and remove Wayne’s statue.
“It is widely recognized that racist symbols produce lasting physical and psychological stress and trauma particularly to Black communities, people of color and other oppressed groups.”
The full OC Board of Supervisors will consider a name-change at its next meeting.
Erstwhile comedian Bob Hope was dropped from the name of Burbank Airport in 2017, which now goes by Burbank – Hollywood Airport. That was for commercial reasons, though I suspect as a product of his time, he also said things for which he would be tarred and feathered today.
I bring this news to you because it impacts travel; it impacts an airport I have traveled from often and again demonstrates how that history is made…or erased…in brief moments.
> Read More: Hollywood Throws Out Bob Hope from Burbank Airport
image: Dave & Margie Hill / Flickr CC 20.0