MovieChat Forums > The Searchers (1956) Discussion > Just because John Wayne's character is r...

Just because John Wayne's character is racist...


Doesn't mean that the movie is racist. I guess people think of The Searchers as a "John Wayne Movie" so if John Wayne's racist in it, then the whole movie must be racist.

Did you miss the scene where Scar talks about how his son's were murdered by white men?

I'm from Paris... TEXAS

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If you miss the headstone you also miss a key factor in Wayne's hatred for them.

And like you said, the movie could have presented Scar as a one dimensional villain but chose to give him a justification for his outlook on the white man.

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It's racist against the white man. Wayne's portrayal makes whitey look bad, and Scar's talk of his son's murder gives whitey a bad character. This film is racist against white people.

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Neither side in the conflict is "racist". Both sides react as injured, determined, and frightened human beings fighting for their lives, and their family's lives, in a war-time conflict. This is especially true of Ethan and Scar, who are in essence the same man and the metaphorical point of the film.

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Racist is a simplistic term that doesn't sit well with this film or the main character. Ethan is a hater, to use a modern term, singling out his feeling towards the comanches misses out the point of his feelings to union solders, northerners, pretty much most people but also his seemingly better relationship with the Mexicans. He is a man who bears grudges and accepts extreme views, meeting violence with violence. He is in fact not dissimilar to Scar. They are the kind that perpetuate this kind of hatred. Whereas I've always seen Martin as the new generation who can move on from that and between him and Debbie they partially start to redeem Ethan.

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It's hatred, not racism. He hates the Comanches because they killed his mother, then his brother, his brother's wife, raped and killed his niece, and took his young niece as a play toy for the Comanche bucks.

That's pure, unadulterated vengeful hatred.

..Joe

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