Stan Lee's powerful quote on racism from 1968 is still as powerful and necessary today
Movie fans were devastated yesterday when it was confirmed that Stan Lee had passed away at the age of 95.
Known for creating iconic superheroes like Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and the X-Men, the legendary comic book writer, editor and producer was something of a hero himself to his millions of fans.
However, when you look at his track record, Lee did much more than produce countless beloved characters. In addition, he used his platform to draw attention to injustices in society, practically embodying his own famous phrase: "with great power must also come great responsibility."
One of the publisher's most important pieces of work came in 1964 from his regular column, 'Stan's Soapbox,' which appeared monthly in Marvel Comics between 1965 and 2001. The piece spoke out about what Lee named the "deadliest social ill that plagued the world": racism.
In his writing, the Marvel co-creator admitted to fans that, this time, a superhero wasn't enough. Instead, destroying this "insidious evil" was going to take time and "we must fill out hearts with tolerance" and "judge each other on our own merits" to do so.
In his own words:
"Let's lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, 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 them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater — one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen — people he’s never known — with equal intensity — with equal venom.
"Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race — to despise an entire nation — to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to 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. Pax et Justitia, Stan."
Although the piece was written over 50 years ago, Lee's quote is still relevant today. In fact, he himself tweeted a picture of the column in August 2017 as violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, NC.
We thank you, Stan Lee, for your powerful words. RIP.