Catchy headline isn’t? Like that featured image?? I made it myself to get your attention. I’m sure you’ve seen dozens of these already this past week. “Captain America gets a makeover.” “Marvel’s New Captain America is Black.” “It’s Time for an All New Captain America.”
Blah, blah, blah.
If you somehow missed the multitude of articles covering this well let me tell you, Sam Wilson is Captain America. And most of you hate it. There is no polite or easy way to say what I’m about to say, mostly because what I have to say is considered offensive just for being said. But let’s face it America, you hate it because he is Black. You can give me all the rationale, all the excuses, all the reasons you think you hate it but the truth of the matter is really this simple: You do not want a Black Captain America.
My editor wanted this article published a week ago when the story first broke and I understand why, by this time most of you are tired of reading about this. But, I needed to wait. I needed to wait because I needed the unenlightened masses to publicly display their “wisdom” for everyone to see. I needed physical, irrefutable evidence that this isn’t just another angry Black man rant. No, no.
I also had a final exam due last Friday that demanded more of my attention work than I originally anticipated.
I needed comments like these to be made:
Now I know what you’re thinking. These aren’t racist comments. These aren’t offensive. These are rational people engaging in civil conversation and expressing their opinions. And you’re right.
See, I’m not writing this article to further a race war or point my finger at “the white man.” That is not what this is at all and for those of you still reading I thank you for your patience and I promise you there is a point to this whole thing. I’m writing this because there is a problem in our country we are failing to identify as time passes on, and that problem is racism. It really is. We’re all guilty of it one way or another and the ultimate problem is that most of us fail to realize it, just like the above examples.
I’m not talking about separate drinking fountains/Jim Crow laws kind of racism. The racism we experience today is the result of decades – if not centuries – of subliminal conditioning about what it means to be Black in America (or any minority really but I’m focusing on this one.) The lot of you are privileged enough to ignore it because it hasn’t affected your lives or been apparent to you in any way. There’s a term for this but I’m not going to use it here. Some of you might know what it is and if you do, great. But I’m not saying it here because most of you will get offended and stop reading. I can’t have that. I want you to keep reading, I want this conversation to start happening. My child and colored/bi-racial children everywhere NEED this conversation to start happening.
This all being said, let’s get back to what started this article, the new Captain America.
First off let’s get one thing straight, Sam Wilson is a different character. Steve Rogers isn’t being re-imagined as a Black guy. He’s retiring and passing on his shield. Sam Wilson has his own identity, his own storylines, his own established presence within the Marvel Universe. But then again you also had this same argument when Peter Parker passed on the spidey suit to Miles Morales didn’t you? That’s right, I haven’t forgotten that nonsense. And bear in mind this is not the first time Sam Wilson has played the role of Captain America. So for those of you swearing by comic book integrity and being true to the characters, scrap that argument right now. This is to my knowledge the third run in comic history at Sam Wilson taking over for Steve Rogers. There’s the 1998 Sentinel of Liberty storyline, and I forget the other but I’m 100% sure it exists. Google it for yourselves. Sam Wilson is also not the only Black character to ever be presented as Captain America. Isaiah Bradley was featured in Truth: Red, White, and Black, a 2003 publishing where Rogers discerns the “truth” about the super serum project, that truth being that the American government would not dream of ever using White men as guinea pigs for a chemical serum. This reflected the mindset of 1930’s-1950s America. I’m not going to tell you what all happens in that series, just read it. It’s a great read. So again, I don’t want to hear any arguments about how you’re really upset because a Black Captain America is somehow blasphemous to comic lore.
I’m not even sure what the heck this guy is trying to say but.. ..
Nope, still no clue what he’s trying to say. Either way here you have someone claiming to be basing his opinion on the comics he owns but, you can see how far that went right? Know your comics before commenting about comic book integrity.
I’m not even going to post a link to it. It was stupid. You’ll retain brain cells by not reading it. Now, I’m going to forgo the obvious Batman related argument because Marvel is indeed a different universe and the gross majority of it is superpowered one way or another. But then again, (name drop) Tony Stark. Tony Stark has no super powers. Tony Stark is rich and has some science/engineering smarts. That’s it. No combat training (beyond his self-imposed experiences as Iron Man), no martial arts background, not even a street brawler from a rough neighborhood. He’s a spoiled. Rich. White guy. Who had a near death experience and turned it into something positive. Sam Wilson on the other hand is a trained soldier, gymnast, life-long philanthropist, and has some engineering smarts of his own. Added to the fact that he’s worked alongside Rogers for decades and more than likely studied him like a freshman biology lab rat, I don’t see why it’s so hard to believe he could be Captain America despite a lack of super powers. Or, are you now going to try and convince me that if Wilson was rich and a genius then it would be acceptable? Cause at that point you’re really just taking Tony Stark and making a black carbon copy which to me is boring, bland, worthy of complaint, and offensive to Black people. Honestly I’d see that as someone telling me a Black man has to be rich (and a genius) to stand on the level of worthiness with a white man.
That entire last paragraph however, was strictly to debuff that ridiculous argument. Sam Wilson does indeed have a superpower in the form of a telepathic link to his pet bird Redwing, and all birds across the planet. Not only can he speak to them, he can enter their consciousnesses and see/hear everything they can. (Any Game of Thrones fans here?) Tell me this wouldn’t come in handy for anyone (especially lacking superhuman speed/strength) taking over the mantle of Captain America.
Now, I need to be very blunt, and very honest with you. This isn’t just about Captain America. I didn’t see all these things being said and automatically jump off the deep end into Black man defensive mode. This has being going on a long, long time. We saw it when Lawrence Fishburne portrayed Perry White. We saw it when Heimdall was played by Idris Elba. Granted these are movies and of a different media but the same concept applies. Especially when the outrage at Johnny Depp playing Tonto, Jimmy Olsen being repackaged as Jenny Olsen, or The Shredder being a White guy are all either non-existent or barely audible. (Where are all those comic book purists at?) How many of you are familiar with Dwayne Mcduffie? Most of you are and some probably just unaware of it. He did a lot of writing for DC comics and animated productions. Just uh, take a look at this 2010 interview he did as I start to wrap this whole thing up:
Did you watch it? Seriously, watch it. It’s not even 5 minutes long. I’ll wait.
This isn’t a new issue, and it’s not paranoia or victim-seeking either. For those of you that think, or feel, like bringing minority characters into major roles is shoving diversity down your throat, then in all honesty you probably need it shoved down your throat. These writers, our writers, that put out this content we love to immerse ourselves in are simply putting out material that is suggestive of where we should already be as a collective population. But we’re not there. It’s clear we’re not there by the amount of fan backlash mounting every time something is changed up, before the changed product even has a chance to stand as a successful entity. These writers are cognizant of the shifts in cultural norms we desperately need to be making. Thus, are putting out products that reflect such. And you know what? Some people get it. Like this lady.
She hits the nail so perfectly on the head I wish she could have co-written this with me. Let’s just face it, few people want to see a stand out Black superhero. Not in comics, not in movies (unless he’s Will Smith). Think of all the reboots being made right now and rumored right now in an age where it’s finally possible to make great comic book movies. Don’t get me wrong I love Superman and Batman as much as any other character but how many more rewrites of these two do I have to see before Steel gets a second chance to shine? (because if I weren’t 8 years old when I first saw this I would have hated it.)
Or Blade? Wesley snipes did great in the role but the movies overall fell flat as they progressed. There are no talks of a Warhawk movie. Nor Black Panther. None for Black Dynamo. Not even Black Adam (hardy har har.) I’d love to even see a Hancock sequel (though admittedly the script damaged the credibility of the product). Hell how about a movie solely based on Storm (Princess Ororo)? I know, I know, these are all supporting characters, not marquee.
Like that Gloria lady said, that’s exactly why they have to be repackaged into newer versions of pre-existing marquee heroes. If you don’t like it, buy into minority characters with original identities and stop pigeonholing them as supporting cast members. And stop trying to rationalize “why you really” dislike them being brought into pre-established major roles.