While Marvel Comics has never allowed Sam Wilson to remain Captain America, it is good to see they have decided to allow him to hold the title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the comics, they engineered an excuse for him to become Captain America and when they were done with the story arc, Steve Rogers reclaimed his title and his shield.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier was very personal for me. Sam’s personal struggle with validation, with the idea he was unfit for and perhaps not suited to the legacy of being Captain America is real and personal.
In the end, I must apologize to Isaiah Bradley because I am with Sam Wilson on this one. If a Black man can’t be Captain America, no one can. (Though, I could see a Native American in the role very easily.)
It depends on which America you are trying to represent. US Agent represents the militarized and domineering aspects of a modern America. It has no use for the little people except as much as they may serve the nation’s supposed interests. And in this, John Walker is the man for the job. Psychotic, focused, driven and often appearing as insane as our nation’s leaders.
Sam Wilson supports the same ideals Steve Rogers did. He didn’t believe force was the answer to every problem. Sam attempts to de-escalate conflicts because military escalation never leads to peace, only momentary silences between wars. Sam’s ideal is the one where we use force as a last resort and I think the reason he has chosen to avoid the use of the Super Soldier Serum.
When you have overwhelming power, you tend to forget what it’s like to be Human, to be vulnerable, to live in fear of someone not seeing you as a person. You forget what it means to fight for what you believe in, even when the fight is hard or in the battles Sam faces, perhaps impossible.
I know the struggles of Sam Wilson. I know what it’s like to have to chase a career you deserve, but know it will NEVER be given to you. I know exactly what it means to be talented but not privileged enough to be in the right place at the right time.
It’s why I get up in the morning and why white men in my career spend their time telling me I am not worthy enough to be considered an American and certainly not qualified enough to be their boss, despite my entire career built on my capacities.
This is the American conundrum when you are Black, descended from enslaved Africans and surrounded by beliefs, stereotypes and social stigmas which have nothing to do with who you are as a person.
Too many good people have been enslaved, tortured, tormented, kidnapped, imprisoned, emasculated and murdered for anyone to tell me and mine we don’t have a right to be here.
I get up every day and fight upstream, up-hill, against a tide of bigotry and racism, fear and loathing, angst and internalized suffering. I raise my family, I take stock of my world and never plan to let anyone tell me what I can and cannot do.
Yes, Mr. Bradley, you were given a raw deal. And you believed in a country which betrayed you. Betrayal is the America which attempts to deny us our birthright.
We are not that America. We are the Ideal. The country of immigrants, of travelers, of wanderers, of believers in something greater, we are the America seeking to make right the wrongs done to the native Americans, to find a way to bring the greatest social experiment and most egregious atrocities to have ever been created in line with the ideals we have decided America stands for, not for the dismal failures of chattel slavery, mass imprisonment, incarceration, and socialized destruction so common with the hidden history of this nation.
To fix history, you have to admit history. I do not fear the past. I am not your America. I intend to be better than you in every way that is meaningful.
This is why you fear me. Because in your heart, you know I am.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California. Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals.