John Wayne isn’t as iconic as he used to be — not in Sacramento, at least. On Thursday, the state Assembly rejected calling the actor’s birthday — May 26 — John Wayne Day.
As the Sacramento Bee reported, “While [Assemblyman Matthew] Harper and other Republicans extolled Wayne, who died in 1979 and whose name graces Orange County’s Airport, several Latino and black members recited Wayne’s words they said disparaged both blacks and Native Americans.
“I’m surprised at the controversy, to be honest,” Harper said. “The orthodoxy of political correctness has prevailed.”
“Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, complained that in Wayne’s Western movies, ‘there was a lot of slaughtering of Native Americans,’ and that he personally sanctioned white occupation of Indian lands.
The Bee said Republicans noted Wayne had personally done much to help Vietnamese refugees settle in Orange County after the Vietnam War ended and was a benefactor of cancer research and the Orange County sheriff’s air unit.
“Everyone of us is imperfect,” Irvine Republican Don Wagner was quoted as saying, citing problems with Franklin Roosevelt and Earl Warren.
How Wayne’s fans, and others, reacted:
Today’s California: Harvey Milk day? Hell yes! Caesar Chavez day? Absolutely! John Wayne day? Nope, because racist ? https://t.co/dtxgqTIGKn
— Rusty Shackelford (@rshackelford14) April 29, 2016
— PJ Campbell (@pegcamp78) April 29, 2016
— Less Gov. More Fun. (@LessGovMoreFun) April 29, 2016