Forget being gay or HYDRA — Captain America should be Black
The interwebs are buzzing about making Captain America bisexual, bouncing off the other campaign to make Elsa from “Frozen” gay too. All cutesy fan wishes.
But then Marvel said, “We see your gay Cap and raise you him being an agent of neo-Nazi group Hydra!”
And the interwebs pretty much broke.
Captain America as representative of America
The Sentinel of Liberty, the man who represents all that America aspires to… is a neo-Nazi?
Realistically, as a Hydra agent Cap is still all that America wants to be — if you consider the number of neo-Nazis, white separatists and flat-out racists who want to “Make America Great Again” under Donald Drumpf.
Can’t you hear them now: “See? Told you Captain America is on our side!”
But even before this non-controversy controversy, I was curious about one factor of the Captain America myth.
Captain America as the Aryan wet dream
You’re trying to create a “super soldier” to take on the Nazis. And what do you create? A blonde haired, blue-eyed ubermensch —
Just like the Nazis would have wanted for their side.
Hell, when you think of it that way, Cap being a Hydra agent is the only thing that makes sense!
Now you could argue that creating the perfect Aryan specimen and then using it against the Nazis would piss them off, a proverbial star-spangled middle finger.
I think they should have made a black Captain America to battle the Nazis.
Can you think of a better way to piss off arrogant racists?
With the Steve Rogers/ Aryan “super soldier,” the Nazis could say it took a super-Aryan to defeat them. It helps them save face.
But what could they say if you sent them someone of a race they deemed inferior? And that person cleaned their clock?
Better yet, why not send a Jewish Captain America? Imagine how that would have stung?
“But Mark,” you say, “it didn’t sting Hitler or the German people when Jesse Owens won the gold in the 1936 Olympics! They cheered for him! How would a black Cap bother them?”
Sports and war are different. There are plenty of people who’d watch Lebron James play and say, “That nigger is good!” not realizing their racism.
But let Lebron kick a white guy’s ass in a fist fight; see if those same people cheer for him.
Methinks they’d use that N-word in a much more hateful context.
Unfortunately, back in the 1940s when Captain America first saw print, comics were still the province of the Anglo-Saxon, Christian, straight white male — even though Jewish writers and artists created Cap and Superman.
Segregation was the rule of the day. There would be no way the creators would acknowledge the irony of fighting Hitler with Hitler’s Aryan wet dream by putting a black or Jewish man behind the shield.
There WAS a black Captain America (before Sam Wilson)
Curiously, it is canon in the Marvel universe that a black man was Captain America during World War Two.
In the limited series “Truth: Red, White and Black,” writer Robert Morales and artist Kyle Baker take a page from the historical account of the Tuskegee Experiment. In those infamous experiments, the U.S. Public Health Service teamed with the Tuskegee Institute to test black men with treatments for syphilis.
They just forgot to mention exactly what they were doing to the men, not giving them the chance to make an informed consent. Which, by the way, is illegal.
In “Truth,” the U.S. government sought to re-create the serum that made Steve Rogers into Captain America. They weren’t about to sacrifice white males as test subjects. Instead, American scientists subjected black military men to the tests.
Three hundred black men died due to mutation. The government covered up their deaths, explaining them away as combat fatalities.
In the end, only one test subject remained — Isaiah Bradley. He ultimately stole a Captain America uniform and battled Nazis. The U.S. government acknowledged his patriotism by court marshaling him for stealing the Captain America mantle for which he’d been made.
Later, President Eisenhower pardoned Bradley. He went on to become a folk hero in the black community, though few outside of that community even knew he existed.
Historically, that’s exactly what happened to black heroes: their stories were largely forgotten.
Is the fanboy outcry worth all this?
Marvel, especially under Disney, is a money-making machine.
Whether black, white, Jew or Hydra, Captain America is their big name, and they’ve got to do things to push his story forward and keep sales going.
The interwebs will ultimately move on from the initial shock of this Hydra revelation. All those media pundits outside of comics who are commenting now won’t even stick around to see how the story turns out.
Hopefully, the story arc will give us something that makes the shock tactic worth it, sort of like the “Superior Spider-Man” run. If it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Whatever “something” that is, I hope it’s better than “Batman v Superman’s” answer to “Murderer of Steel.”
Yeah. I went there.