Street Artists Use Ms. Marvel to Fight Real-Life Intolerance
Street artists in San Francisco are using Kamala Khan (aka Marvel's Ms. Marvel) to block out bus ads from the "American Freedom Defense Initiative" that compare Islam to Nazism. The art pasted over the ads features Kamala saying things like, "Calling all bigotry busters," and, "Free speech isn't a license to spread hate." The protest was organized by the group Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power, which runs the Facebook page where photos of the improved ads appeared, Street Cred - Advertising for the People.
The far-right anti-Muslim group American Freedom Defense Initiative has run similar ads in Washington, D.C. and AFDI's president Pamela Gellar is full of ideas on how to "fight specific Islamic supremacist initiatives in American cities." She's also the president of "Stop Islamization of America." These ads are basically barely disguised hate speech, and have now appeared in ads in multiple US cities. (AFDI is recognized as a hate group in the UK.)
The AFDI may have run up against an unstoppable force in Kamala Khan. While city buses are government property, making it difficult to limit what can appear on ads on them even when the content is hateful, street artists don't tend to follow the rules at all, given that they're often already breaking the law in some way.
The Facebook page Street Cred - Advertising for the People features photos of the revised ads:
On the BAAQUP website, a blog post about the initiative said:
Bigotry busters sprang into action, enlisting the help of Kamala Khan, a Marvel comics superhero. BAAQUP and Street Cred commend Marvel for taking a different road than Charlie Hebdo, using the power of comics for good.
“Just because you have the right to say something, doesn’t mean you should say it,” said J, one of the street artists who headed out to run down the buses on Sunday. “Free speech can still have a cost.”
Kamala won’t let racism go unchallenged in our town, and neither will we!
Ms. MarvelG. Willow Wilsontweeted her support
This inspiring protest uses Kamala's presence for good - so even though the character hasn't faced such overt racism in her own series, she's already faced it down in reality.