Social Commentary in Marvel’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”

Marvel Studios shines light on racial injustice for the younger generation. (SPOILER ALERT for the first five episodes)

By Dylan Lee

Marvel’s latest TV show, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” explores the theme of racism among others. After Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers passes his Captain America shield to his friend, the Falcon, Sam Wilson, thus declaring him the next Captain America. Six months later, we see that Sam has given up the shield to the American government to be put on display at the Smithsonian. Episode one ends with the introduction of a brand new Captain America with Sam looking confused. 

Sam Wilson has in every way proven himself to be worthy of the Captain America title. The only reason he gives the shield to the government to be put on display at a museum is because of his imposter syndrome. Because he is a black man, society has preconditioned him to believe that he does not deserve what he has earned. The American government says he did the right thing by giving up the shield demonstrating that they believe the shield should not have belonged to Sam, a black man, in the first place despite it being Steve Rogers’ wish. They then continue to ignore Sam’s own wishes of it belonging in a museum, and give it to a white man, their selected version of Captain America. America does not agree with having a black Captain America and that is proven by the existence of Isaiah Bradley, a black supersoldier.

Isaiah Bradley was experimented on without his knowledge during World War 2 and became one of the first super soldiers in existence. Isaiah was thrown in jail for thirty years for breaking out of the facility he was being kept in to save his comrades lives. However, Steve Rogers was admired for doing the very same thing in Captain America: The First Avenger. Isaiah has been kept a secret from the world ever since becoming a supersoldier and he proceeds to say, “They were worried my story would get out so they erased me, erased my history, but they’ve been doing that for 500 years”

John Walker, a three time medal of honor holder, is given the shield after Sam gives it up and becomes the new Captain America. John is the human personification of white supremacy and represents today’s America. Everything he benefits from the show comes at the expense of black people. African American culture plays a significant role in America and it has been stolen and appropriated for white audiences. John Walker, a white man, is introduced by a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) band. This is seen as white people taking black people’s culture and using it to elevate themselves. He is where he is now because of white privilege. His black best friend, his black wife, his Captain America intro by an HBCU band, he got the shield because Sam, a black man gave it up, and the serum he eventually takes to become a supersoldier came from the experiments done on Isaiah Bradley, a black man. John Walker steps all over his support system (black people) to make himself feel better which can be seen with him allowing a stranger treat his wife like she is not part of the conversation and instead of defending her, he lets the stranger talk because they might have something he wants. Later, he leaves his best friend Lamar after he dies to fulfill his own sense of justice and then proceeds to lie to Lamar’s family about his killer to make himself look better. While facing trial for murdering someone in cold blood, he disrespects his prosecutors for stripping him of his medals of honor and the Captain America title, even though he walks away from murder with just a light tap on the wrist. In the end, during this court scene John, the personification of white supremacy, looks at the American government and tells them, “You built me.”

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