Are people really surprised John Wayne was racist and homophobic…?

Not to get too far away from sports, but—yesterday and today, John Wayne has been trending on  Twitter and the internet in general because an interview he did with Playboy (nice) in 1971, in which he said some pretty ridiculously heinous things, has resurfaced.

Some of the quotes from the interview include these doozies, along with using the word “fag” wayyyy more than anyone should be comfortable with:

      • “I believe in white supremacy.”
      • “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. 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. Now, I’m not condoning slavery. It’s just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can’t play football with the rest of us.”

Not a great look. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it a terrible horrific look.

I, as a straight white male living in the United States, am certainly not benefitting from one of the most famous white actors in history having these views. I mean, truly, this is about as bad as it gets. This is like, atrociously venomous stuff. The only good thing that’s come out of this story resurfacing has been the fact that we’re bringing back the “Would you go back in time and kill baby [insert terrible person here]” jokes.

The thing that’s really flabbergasted me about this whole situation is the number of people who are shocked by this. SHOCKED. Look‚ I’m not condoning these beliefs. In fact, in some circles, I may or may not be described as a “Libtard” by a chosen few. I’m not here to stand on a soapbox and shout to the heavens about how John Wayne’s memory is being tarnished and that we don’t have enough appreciation for the original True Grit or some shit (by the way, the remake is better, #sorrynotsorry). But how in the fuck are people surprised by this?! Are we really shocked that John Wayne, a white guy who’s famous for being a cowboy in movies, was racist and homophobic? The guy was born in Iowa in 1907, in a town of like 3000 people that is 98% white and has been that way since it was founded. In 1907, black people and gay people were still looked at as sub-human by the whites. Sure, there was a good white guy or gal here and there, but the majority of white people were flat out racist. John Wayne was brought up in a culture that was still bummed out that they couldn’t own slaves, for Christ’s sake. How are we shocked that he was a racist and homophobic piece of shit? He was a product of a culture that was breeding racism and homophobia.

Again, I’m not defending him. He’s definitely a huge piece of stinking trash. You’ll find no argument here. But for once, can we all just stop with the fake outrage about something nobody was denying to begin with? Maybe you didn’t think about it before (because honestly, when was the last time you thought about John Wayne?), but I bet if someone had asked you if you thought John Wayne was racist, you’d probably have said yes.

Plus, if we’re really trying to focus on making society better, why don’t we (I can’t believe I’m saying this) take Whitney Cummings’ advice and focus on the racist and homophobic pieces of shit who are still alive, and who can actually impact society still?


Photo: MarketWatch

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