Lawmakers Reject John Wayne Day Over 'Racism'

Plans to hold a John Wayne Day in California have been rejected after several lawmakers accused the actor of being racist.

Supporters of the resolution wanted to declare 26 May - the Hollywood icon's birthday - "John Wayne Day" but a number of Latino and black assembly members objected to the proposal on Thursday.

Assemblyman Matthew Harper submitted the motion, which described Wayne - nicknamed the "Duke" - as the "prototypical American hero, symbolising such traits as self-reliance, grace under pressure, resolve, and patriotism".

The actor starred in films including The Alamo, The Green Beret, and True Grit, for which he won an Academy Award.

Supporters noted that Wayne, who died in 1979 and was known for his conservative views, was an avid supporter of the US military and had contributed to cancer research.

However assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez complained that Wayne's movies included "a lot of slaughtering of Native Americans" and that the actor had sanctioned the white occupation of Indian lands, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported.

In a widely-reported 1971 interview with Playboy, Wayne also shared his thoughts on race relations and discrimination.

"With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so," he was quoted as saying.

"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."

As the resolution to honour Wayne was voted down, one lawmaker appeared to downplay the actor's past comments saying "everyone of us is imperfect," the Bee reported.

Mr Harper said it was unfortunate that the vote had gone in favour of "political correctness".

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