When Lee’s daughter J.C. noted that politicians always wear U.S. flag pins on their lapels, she wondered why it is people don’t wear a similar pin that indicates mutual respect, regardless of race. The concept seems simple enough.
Lee told The Washington Post: “J.C.’s remarks sent me back to the drawing board, and I designed such a pin.” The pin, in black and white, is an image of two hands grasping one another as equals, the word “respect” printed above.
In the 1960s — during the height of the Civil Rights Movement — Lee co-created Black Panther to appeal to a more diverse audience. Then, and now, Lee believes in the power of comics to bring people together and illicit meaningful discussion.
“I always felt the X-Men, in a subtle way, often touched upon the subject of racism and inequality, and I believe that subject has come up in other titles, too,” Lee told The Post, “But we would never pound hard on the subject, which must be handled with care and intelligence.”
Marvel’s Luke Cage is in the same vein, but with a wholly different attitude. While the show is undoubtedly political and makes point after point about racism in America, there’s no sugar-coating. Luke Cage is a black man who wears a hoodie in solidarity of police shooting victims, and who spends a large amount of his time working around racist and presumptive systems that are out to get him.
But despite the subtle differences, we think Luke would fully support Lee’s idea. You can get your own pin online.
Photos via The Washington Post/Stan Lee, Variety