Batman points out a problem in America.
There’s no doubt that comic books take notes from real life. It’s one of the reasons why the industry has stayed relevant for decades. The X-Men are a perfect example. Mutants are a group of people who are hated and feared for the way they look. You can see how people of color can relate to them. It’s a life we live every day. Nightcrawler was chased with torches for looking like a demon, religious mutant hating groups were created specifically to kill them, and even the U.S. Government has plans to kill them if necessary. All of these examples sound very familiar. DC Comics may have taken a stand against racism in Batman No. 101.
During The Joker War, Joker had an army of henchmen going around Gotham City wreaking havoc. After the Bat-Family took them all down, Joker’s army crept back into the shadows. Back to their jobs, families, and hobbies. And there lies the problem. All of those violent criminals are going unchecked. Waiting for someone else to boss them around. And it’s usually someone who has a violent tendency.
How is this applicable to real life?
In 2017, there was a White Nationalist rally in Virginia. A rally that ended with a lot of racial remarks from white Americans losing their heritage. They were violent, racist, angry, and wielding tiki torches. After the rally, these people went back to their lives and, for the most part, remained anonymous. You’d figure that the President of the United States would condemn their actions. He didn’t. Instead, he was quoted saying that there were, “good people on both sides.” The next day, these racist people are, as Lucius Fox, “…could be our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues.”
As a black man, I appreciate this. Something simple, but hits the point home in a major way. We have racist people running around America hiding behind masks that they can take off in public. Nonetheless, they’re on the internet using their anonymity to spout intolerance. We don’t know if they’re laughing with us at work or cooking our food at a restaurant. Sure, this happened in a small panel in an issue of Batman, but something big was said that needed to be pointed out.