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Stan Lee made it clear to Marvel Comics readers of all ages in 1968 that racism and bigotry were unacceptable.
In a “Stan’s Soapbox” column — a part of the Bullpen Bulletins that appeared monthly in Marvel Comics from 1965-2001 — Lee wrote that his readers may not always get along with everyone they meet, but that in no way means it is permissible to blindly hate.
The conversation of hate, racism and bigotry was reignited over the weekend after a rally was held by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., at which a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 others injured as they protested the rally. Two state troopers were also killed in a helicopter crash as they were headed to the scene.
In the days since, old writings, illustrations and videos from decades ago warning of the dangers and ignorance of racism have resurfaced as some noted the country is appears to be moving backward.
The 94-year-old Lee on Tuesday shared his old column via Twitter, noting it is “[a]s true today as it was in 1968” — a year in which Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was enacted.
“Racism and bigotry are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today,” Lee wrote nearly 50 years ago. “But, unlike a team of costumed supervillains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them, is to expose them — to reveal from the insidious evil they really are.”
Lee told fans not getting along was another person was normal, but “it’s totally irrational and patently insane to condemn an entire race — to despise an entire nation — to vilify an entire religion.”
He added, “Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if a man is to ever be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God — a God who calls us ALL — his children.”
Lee was known for injecting progressive messages into his work, with the X-Men comics serving as an allegory for the civil rights movement and characters such as newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson taking pro-civil rights stances.
As true today as it was in 1968. Pax et Justitia – Stan pic.twitter.com/VbBtiZzUch
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) August 15, 2017
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