A viral image that's been circulating around the Internet recently is hardly new—in fact, it's 66 years old. But it's as relevant now as it's ever been.
The image is a public service poster intended for American schools, featuring Superman lecturing a group of well-scrubbed young people about what it truly means to be "all American." And although the presentation may be corny in a uniquely baby boom way, the message is surprisingly progressive. And it's one that many people in 2015 still haven't learned.
…And remember, boys and girls, your school—like our country—is made up of Americans of many different races, religions and national origins. So… if YOU hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race or national origin—don’t wait: tell him THAT KIND OF TALK IS UN-AMERICAN.
The Huffington Post did some investigative work to track down the origins of the poster. The copyright date on the image is 1956, but a black-and-white version available elsewhere had a copyright from 1949. It was originally distributed by the Institute for American Democracy, an offshoot of the Anti-Defamation League. The intent is clear—to mend America's deeply-rooted prejudices in that troubled but optimistic period between World War II and the Civil Rights era.
Looks like it didn't work. With major presidential candidates advocating for deporting immigrants and closing the door on refugees in a way not seen since before WWII, it's almost like we've taken a step backward. And it's hardly Superman's fault—people don't even like his movies anymore.
Maybe what the country needs is a hefty dose of inspiration from a classic, non-gritty Superman. And a less-ugly Batman costume. But that's beside the point.