RICHMOND, Va. — As a means to circumvent efforts to promote critical race theory teachings in public schools, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has proposed all Virginia K-12 schools show John Wayne’s entire filmography in classroom settings, sources confirmed Wednesday.
According to officials close to the Youngkin camp, the governor-elect is developing legislation that would require every John Wayne film — ranging from 1939’s “Stagecoach” to the classic “Rio Bravo” — to be viewed in response to the continued push to add critical race theory into school curriculums.
“Critical race theory is what the Democrats are using to push their liberal agenda that goes against the core values of American exceptionalism, and Youngkin has vowed to keep that from happening,” Tim Semmes, a spokesperson for the governor-elect, explained in a press release, noting that the cultural significance of John Wayne’s many characters throughout the 20th century was a leading factor in considering him as a figurehead for childhood teachings.
“Throughout the entirety of his career, Wayne’s legendary roles ranging from a rugged-yet-polite gunslinger who always sought to bring justice in a world of outlaws to soldiers and generals in some of our finest war epics represent the integrity we want our youth to have. Teaching that American pride and exceptionalism is what makes our nation great is our response to simply making everything about race, and we think John Wayne is the perfect candidate for the job.”
While the legislation is still very much a work-in-progress, Semmes added that certain films would be immersed into school curriculums to coincide with the periods of history that are being taught. For example, a showing of the 1967 western “The War Wagon” would coincide with teachings of the California gold rush, while the 1968 film “The Green Berets” would be shown to students while reviewing the Vietnam War.
“Additionally, his role as Wil Andersen in “The Cowboys” showcases the fatherly role model that youngsters around the commonwealth need,” Semmes continued. “Of course, some scenes that show graphic violence will be edited, but all of the prominent content — especially scenes that show how Americans and Native Americans proudly bonded together and have ultimately gotten along together over the last 400 years — will remain untouched.”
Semmes went on to add that the proposed legislation will not totally preclude teaching about race, as the curriculum would include a viewing of Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino”. However, he noted that the film would be shown within the context of a white man saving helpless minorities from the evils of inner city living.