The MCU’s invisible racist history unmasked with a Black Captain America


Isaiah Bradley stands standing with the width and posture of a faded bodybuilder. You can imagine his young himself tearing a tire in half, but now he only has the strength to see the next day.

When the Avenger known as the Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, brings Captain America’s shield, Isaiah is unmoved. “Leave it covered,” he asks sharply. “Those stars and stripes mean nothing good to me.” Soon Isaiah digs up dirt swept away by forces more insidious than any supervillain. Like the love letters on its shelf, America has also kept men like Isaiah Bradley out of sight.

STAGE THIEVES is a countdown that salutes the unforgettable characters of the small screen of the year. Isaiah Bradley is # 4.

Hosted by under-decorated actor Carl Lumbly, Isaiah Bradley bears the burden of injustice as an abandoned super soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it seems that it is only because of the serum that Isaiah has the strength to take it away. Although narratively adrift, the Disney + series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is ambitious in its story on the legacy, the legacy and the baggage that gives it weight. The Marvel series premiered two months before the one-year mark of George Floyd’s police murder, and an awareness of systemic racism set the temperature for Sam Wilson’s rise as Captain America (but not until a mediocre white man makes a mess).

Who is Isaiah Bradley?

  • Best quote: “Swear your allegiance to this, my brother. “
  • Famous for: Uncomfortable truths, one hell of a wrist
  • The scene robbery episode: Episode 5, “Truth” (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier)
  • Super power : Inspire Sam Wilson to Bring Change in the MCU
  • Their scientific element: Tennessine. Like the Super Soldier serum that runs through it, tennessine is a rare synthetic chemical. In 2021, Tennessine is also the most recently discovered element, just as Sam Wilson recently “discovered” Isaiah Bradley.
  • Walking song: “Who will save my soul” by Gnarls Barkley

With a deep and laboring voice, actor Carl Lumbly epitomizes generations of establishment pain and resentment as “Isaiah Bradley,” one of many lost black super soldiers in the MCU.Marvel studios

Appropriately titled “Truth”, the episode recalls the heinous Tuskegee experience, a historical fact in American medicine. Conducted by two federal agencies, the experiment aimed to study untreated syphilis. He did it on black men in rural Alabama who were fooled about his true goal. Over a hundred black Americans died from this unethical study; persistent damage on living descendants remains invaluable.

In 2003, Marvel publisher Axel Alonso pitched comic book author Robert Morales with the idea of ​​a Black Captain America with Tuskegee-inspired origins. With artist Kyle Baker, their collaboration became the comic book miniseries Truth: Red, White and Black, which featured Isaiah Bradley, his “forgotten” history as Captain America and the iteration of the Super Soldier serum through the bodies of black men.

With gruff breaths and a drawling Alabama accent, Isaiah speaks as if he is breaking the silence. “They tell us it’s tetanus,” he said, the venom of resentment on his lips. When he recalls how the government tried to blow up subjects to hide “evidence,” Isaiah refutes the word. “These are my men. No proof.

The double standards are revealed when Isaiah details a rescue similar to the one performed by Chris Evans’ blond-haired Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger. For his actions, Steve received a hero honor. Isaiah was sentenced to 30 years in prison. “They’ll never let a black man be Captain America,” Isaiah warns. “And even if they did, no self-respecting black man would ever want to be.”

“Shoulder the charged of injustice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe “

Few can offer pathos and pain like Carl Lumbly. A veteran television actor, Lumbly is no stranger to the worlds of superheroes. His roles in DC media, namely J’onn J’onnz / Martian Manhunter in the famous Justice League series, allowed Lumbly to touch the humanity of heroes. In one memorable christmas episode, Lumbly’s J’onn sings a beautiful Martian melody as a gift to Superman’s family for their hospitality. In 2017, Lumbly used his talents to live the action as M’yrnn, father of J’onn (David Harewood) in Super girl. More disconnected from Earth in this role, Lumbly’s planetary alien affectionately asks about coffee and chess to a distant son.

The MCU is bringing Lumbly back to Earth. Talk to Vanity Fair, Lumbly unboxed Isaiah’s words to Sam about self-respecting black men. “To me, Isaiah speaks to himself,” Lumbly said. “It’s almost self-deprecating.” Isaiah envies Sam, as someone who can make a meaningful change. “He looks at the Falcon and sees both the potential and the achievement of excellence… and the possibility of all the disappointments that would come if you went too far and failed.”

Isaiah’s story has power. It’s just the MCU’s toothlessness that keeps it from being powerful. Falcon / Winter Soldier proves the franchise can and will pull punches, as evidenced by Sam’s fuzzy demagoguery as the new Captain America demonstrates. For this reason, a targeted prequel, perhaps a direct adaptation of Truth: red, white and black, can give the MCU the courage to be genuinely interesting rather than trusting its intentions.

Late and still not enough, Isaiah Bradley gets the honor of a hero as No.4 in the Reverse Scene thieves from 2021.Marvel studios

Equally baffling is the show’s closing image with Isaiah, his now bronze likeness. It only moves because of Lumbly. What is important to Isaiah? Repairs? Acknowledgement? This is just another question, taken from Jeff Chang’s 2016 book We are well, which offers an insight: “People of color are allowed, if not compelled to perform, and, especially nowadays on issues of race, to edify as well. But do we have the right to lead? “

Isaiah wants to believe the answer is yes. He’s too exhausted to find out.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now streaming on Disney +.


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