The facts: But Wayne’s quote is real; it originally appeared in a May 1971 interview with Playboy magazine in which Wayne was responding to a question about whether Angela Davis, a counterculture activist, communist, and professor, was discriminated against by those who wanted to revoke her teaching credentials:
Wayne responded: “With a lot of Blacks, there’s quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the Blacks. 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.”
When asked about his own hiring practices, Wayne said that while he did not discriminate against black actors or crew members, he didn’t seek them out either:
“I’ve directed two pictures, and I gave the Blacks their proper position. I had a Black slave in The Alamo, and I had a correct number of Blacks in The Green Berets. If it’s supposed to be a Black character, naturally I use a Black actor. But I don’t go so far as hunting for positions for them. I think the Hollywood studios are carrying their tokenism a little too far. …”
The Playboy interview contained one other quote that is frequently shared in meme form, Snopes.com reports. The quote was in response to Playboy’s question of whether Wayne felt any empathy for Native American for subordinate roles in Westerns:
“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.”
These feelings and other publicized statements came back to prevent Wayne from being recognized by the state of California. In April of last year, Republican state assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach wanted to declare May 26 as John Wayne Day to mark the day the actor was born. But other legislators mentioned Wayne’s views. The proposal fell by a 35-20 vote.
But also remember this he-man didn’t serve in World War II like`fellow macho man Ted Nugent didn’t serve in ‘Nam.