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Proud To Be An American, A Modern Musical Rendition
Did you know? - In an interview with Playboy magazine in May 1971, Wayne made several controversial remarks about race and class in the United States. The interview became a hot topic and many stores had trouble keeping the issue in stock. He noted that, as someone living in the 20th century, he was not responsible for the way people who lived one hundred years before him had treated Native Americans, stating:
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 was just a question of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.... I'm quite sure that the concept of a Government-run reservation... seems to be what the socialists are working for now — to have everyone cared for from cradle to grave.... But you can't whine and bellyache 'cause somebody else got a break and you didn't, like those Indians are. We'll all be on a reservation soon if the socialists keep subsidizing groups like them with our tax money.
He then continued to discuss race relations, including his opinions regarding the current civil rights of African Americans:
I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.... The academic community has developed certain tests that determine whether the blacks are sufficiently equipped scholastically.... I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or ten 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 can't play football like the rest of us.
When asked how blacks could address the inequities of the past, Wayne replied:
By going to school. I don't know why people insist that blacks have been forbidden to go to school. They were allowed in public schools wherever I've been. I think any black man who can compete with a white can get a better break than a white man. I wish they'd tell me where in the world they have it better than right here in America.