Outrage over John Wayne interview

Whoever picks on “Big John” better tread lightly…you’re talking about an American legend

2 Likes

He was an actor. His persona was no different than Barney the purple dinosaur. The was an actor, he was not Rooster Cogburn or the host of other roles he played.

Did he make us feel good? Sure. But is that reason to immortalize him? Certainly not.

As long as the operations of the airport run smoothly, I don’t care if it is called “John Wayne International Airport” or "Pee-Wee Herman’s Big Landing Strip.

5 Likes

I doubt anyone under 40 cares about John Wayne at all.

3 Likes

Well, some do. Four of my grandsons (age 7,5, 4 and 2) watch his old movies. The youngest probably don’t know the name, but they sure know the character.

Some people reject more recent movies for kids for various reasons such as the language, extreme violence and sex, and let them watch old movies that were more wholesome. I imagine there are quite a few parents who do that.

2 Likes

Peebo, what did he say? I don’t want to click a half dozen things just to get to a video that is who knows how long.

“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility”

"Native Americans “were selfishly trying to keep (the US) for themselves”

Yes, very wholesome.

Do you think John Wayne is a character worthy of esteem now that comments like this have come to light?

1 Like

It is my understanding those beliefs were pretty mainstream during most of Wayne’s life. I wonder just a little whether he would have called them “Native Americans” at that time in history. Maybe that’s an accurate quote, but I wonder about it.

But none of that means Wayne was not admirable in other ways, and certainly not in the characters he played.

I guess, though, nobody can be admired for any reason nowadays, or even tolerated, unless his views were totally politically correct as now required by progressives…not that progressives really believe them themselves, or ever did.

6 Likes

Yes, because he WAS BORN IN 1907 AND HIS FORMATIVE YEARS WERE THE 10s, 20s, AND 30s. Literally every person in the world harbored racial or prejudiced views until very very recently. In fact, I am willing to say that everyone living today holds some kind of prejudice.

These new standards where everyone who ever existed must live up to current standards of the exact moment or be erased from history are ridiculous, and their application is politically biased. Go read anything Abraham Lincoln said about black people, and it is indistinguishable from anything the most virulent white supremist utters today. Shall we pull down the Lincoln Memorial? Take your pick of any man or woman from the past and you will find an opinion that is objectionable today. Heck, over the last 10yrs we have had presidents who said they were against gay marriage who have since had to backpedal and say they are for it. Joe Biden just had to renounce even saying being against gay marriage is a position respectable people can hold! Lucky them they didn’t kick the bucket before they were able to align their supposed opinions with the current flavor of the month.

I thought that we were pretty much all Catholic here, and recognized that while some things are intrinsically wrong, we also recognize that mitigating circumstances exist. We also recognize the good in those who might also be misguided.

And who the heck is digging up 50yr old interviews of a deceased man to try and smear his reputation? What a pathetic person.

8 Likes

Not admirable things to say, even in 1971. All in the Family was a program at that point, and Archie was the bigoted main character. We recognized Archie to be a bigot .

But Wayne is dead now. I hope he died in a state of grace. May he Rest In Peace.

2 Likes

I don’t think one can go by that. Archie Bunker was a caricature, and probably not everyone watched that program. Probably some even resented it because the caricature had pretty wide application to things a lot of people thought at the time. Even so, it would be a little bit like saying “The Goldbergs” show in the 1950s meant nobody was anti-Semitic anymore, or that the “Loretta Young Show” (a very Catholic show) proves that anti-Catholicism was dead at the time.

1 Like

The patronizing and manipulative attitude shown by progressives toward racial and ethnic minorities is solid proof of that.

4 Likes

That’s some impressive deflection to turn an article about John Wayne being a racist 40 years ago into “actually the liberals now are the real racists”. Pretty cool trick to avoid discussing the real issue of an American Icon being an ugly racist and having to discuss what that means in the way we as a culture deal with that baggage as a society. By making it about other vague people now as opposed to a specific person them is avoiding a hard conversation on reconciling what used to be acceptable with what is no longer acceptable by pointing fingers at the other side and passing the buck to them.

And just because “everyone was racist” (which isn’t true) doesn’t mean it’s okay. It’s a convenient excuse to avoid dealing with the fact that America has an ugly history with issues of race.

Should we shun John Wayne movies? No, and anyone who suggests that this is the next course of action it is being a reactionary or trying to again shift blame/responsibility for the discussion onto another party. But we do need to recognize that
1-Statements like “whites are better” and “Natives were hogging the land” are not good things to say.
2- John Wayne and many, many other iconic personalities said/did these things

This doesn’t automatically make their artistic works “bad” or “wrong”. But suppressing or ignoring these facts glosses over reality.

3 Likes

Why are you yelling? I know how old he is, I know when he was born/raised.

And it’s certainly not true that everyone ever was racist. That’s a broad brush to paint of all humanity with.

1 Like

I think that’s excessive. If these statements were made in 1971, they were widely held beliefs at the time, and not based only on “racism”. Truth was that blacks were not well-educated compared to whites at the time. That was a widely known injustice. It was also widely known that, e.g., illiteracy was widespread in almost lily-white Appalachia. The ignorance and primitiveness of “hill country” people was lampooned overtly. Al Capp had not only a nationwide cartoon series based on that premise, but even had a Broadway play based on it.

And nobody called it “classism” or “ethnicism” (Scots-Irish) or 'regionalism", let alone “racism”. It was just accepted as a fact. I grew up in the Ozarks. I recall when I went to college in the north, there were students from the East who thought the Ozarks was a mythical place, like “Dogpatch”, so pervasive was the notion.

But was there any truth to “Dogpatch”? Yes there was. Was there any truth to the constant Church charity publications calling on people to donate to support literacy programs in “Appalachia”? Absolutely.

And when one of my daughters attended oh-so-liberal Georgetown, school organizations actually put on a “white trash” party. She got a special invitation because of her supposedly Ozark Hillbilly accent.

4 Likes

That’s a mean thing to have happen to your daughter.

That being said, nothing here has anything to do with John Wayne saying he’s a white supremacist. Yes, classism/elitism is bad, I won’t argue there. People from the Ozarks are just as equal as anyone else. But I am not going to be dragged into a discussion that is so off track from the topic at hand.

I understand that it is difficult to reconcile things/people that mean a lot to you with racism. I really like the Little House books, but now I realize there are some very bad things in there in regards to Natives - esp how Ma says the only good Indian is a dead Indian. Does this make Ma a bad person completely? Certainly not. Is it an okay sentiment? Not now and not then. That attitude lead to genocidal policy.

I still intend to read those books to my son, but I also recognize that I need to tell him that those ideas towards Natives are wrong and we need to understand why it’s wrong. It isn’t right to just hand-wave attitudes that justified slavery and genocide away as “well it was normal at the time.” It’s still wrong. We owe it to the victims of these attitudes - be they black, Native, illiterate Ozarkians, whatever - to explain to younger generations why attitudes like that are unacceptable.

2 Likes

My daughter got over it, but it and other things taught her a lot about progressivism.

I still dispute that Wayne’s statement makes him a “white supremacist” in the way that term is understood now. It’s more like “patriarchalism”; “white man’s burden” stuff. It was absolutely wrong and immoral to whatever extent it implied an inherent relationship of inferiority/superiority based on race. But that’s not what the statement is. It relates only to education. Now, when Wayne said “black people” or “white people”, he threw too wide a loop and, to that extent, it’s mildly racist. But then, almost everything anybody says nowadays is too broadly applied and therefore is at least mildly racist. Even attribution of superior qualities to people of a particular race or ethnicity, broadly speaking, is racist or ethnicist. And you don’t even have to say it. All you have to do is think it. I recall when in college I thought it good to join the glee club for the easy one hour of “A” it provided. There was one black guy in it. I expected him to be an excellent singer because of his being black, but he was actually terrible. That expectation was “racist” on my part, though mildly so.

I can’t answer for Ms. Wilder’s views, but while that’s a terrible thing to say, one questions whether she meant it literally. But people did fear Indians fairly late on, and no doubt about it. If John Wayne was born in 1907, people who fought in the Indian wars would have still been living when he was a kid; some of them not so very old.

I agree if a person is now teaching children about Indians or blacks, he/she ought to clarify when running across stereotyping assertions. But the whole truth should be told. If, indeed, Comanches and Apaches roasted captives to death over slow fires, and if St. Isaac Jogues’ fingers were really chewed off by Mohawks, it needs to be told. Why? For the same reason children should be told about the Holocaust and the Gulags. Savagery is never far away from human action, and it needs to be recognized.

It may be something local to Western PA, but I don’t know a soul who, in the early seventies, held that such beliefs were not racist. A few might have indulged that racism, but it was considered bad character.

3 Likes

I agree that we are destroying every hero we might have had through a revisionist lens.

I’ve listened to enough conservatives tell me that MLK Jr was no hero because he was a womanizer, though, to know that it isn’t only a problem created by progressives.

1 Like

Is this a concern?
Shouldn’t strong values and principles prevail over mythos?

I haven’t read the whole interview so I don’t know the total content, I did read excerpts. I don’t think people should be busted 50 years after they say something because it is in some dumb magazine interview and times were different back then. And sometimes, people answer questions awkwardly. Unless, he was using racial epithets or something, I’d let it go.

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.