In 2020, much of America seems to be out on the hunt for ways to atone for the sins of our past. We look around at a history that included some unfortunate realities and, instead of looking to learn from them, many are calling to simply erase them from history.
In some instances, there is a fairly compelling case for change. NASCAR, for instance, cited the concerns of their increasingly diverse fan base in banning the displaying of the Confederate flag from its properties, as there had been complaints that the symbolism was offensive to some…including driver Bubba Wallace.
But there have been some controversial decisions in recent weeks as well, such as the latest out of California.
This week, officials passed an emergency resolution condemning film legend John Wayne’s “racist and bigoted statements” made decades ago and are calling on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to drop his name, statue and other likenesses from the international airport.
The resolution also asked the board “to restore its original name: Orange County Airport.”
“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 Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County.
Some seem to believe that Wayne was a white supremacist.
According to the crafters of the resolution, who include Briceño, the effort to oust Wayne is part of “a national movement to remove white supremacist symbols and names [that are] reshaping American institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues and teams.”
Wayne’s 1971 interview with Playboy magazine was at the heart of the argument, as The Duke made some highly controversial and bigoted statements within that piece, including his belief “in white supremacy”, until such a time that African Americans were “educated to the point of responsibility”.
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