Following the death of comics legend Stan Lee, fans and admirers from around the world and across every industry have been sharing their memories of the Marvel co-creators, but they've also been sharing some of Lee's wisdom and messages as well including a 1968 editorial denouncing racism.
In one of the installments of "Stan's Soapbox," the editorial he wrote for nearly forty years, Lee used his words to push back against racism and bigotry, calling it "among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today". While the piece has gone viral a handful of times in the past, such as last August following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, it seems especially fitting that the message makes the rounds again now that Lee has left this world.
Stan Lee leaves behind a complicated legacy. He brought joy to the world while causing pain to the little guy behind-the-scenes. But if we can take something positive from the life he lived, it’s that he made sure to take a public stand when it might’ve cost him.
December, 1968: pic.twitter.com/9U5TeTtXLc— Siddhant Adlakha (@SidizenKane) November 12, 2018
You can read the full text of the column below.
"Let's lay it 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 our 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.”
While this "Stan's Soapbox" dates from 50 years ago, Lee continued sharing a similar message even into his final years. Last October, Marvel posted a video of Lee reminding everyone that while the stories in the Marvel Universe reflect an often imperfect reality, there is no room for bigotry or hatred in life or the Marvel Universe as we are all part of a larger, human family.
"That man next to you, he's your brother," Lee said. "That woman over there, she's your sister. And that kid walking by, hey, who knows — he may have the proportionate strength of a spider. We’re all part of one big family, the human family, and we all come together in the body of Marvel. And you, you’re part of that family. You're part of the Marvel Universe that moves ever upward and onward to greater glory. In other words: excelsior!"
Lee passed away at the age of 95. You can check out some of the many celebrations of his life and legacy here.