Passing the Shield: Advice for the New Captain America
From the Desk of Steve “Captain America” Rodgers
To: Samuel Wilson
Hey, bro. It’s me, Cap’n here. I’ve been Captain America for 73 years now, and I’m more exhausted than Tony Stark after a weekend in Vegas. It’s time for me to retire. I’ve spent the last three-quarters of a century busting the skull of any maniac that had the gall to cross the ol’ Stars and Stripes. It’s time I get a real hobby. I bought a condo in Fort Lauderdale, and I’m taking up woodworking.
You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with me? Is this a timeshare pitch?” And the answer is no–unless you’re interested. I still have my realtor’s card. I’m writing to give you the exciting news that you will be the new Captain America! I’m officially retiring and passing the shield, helmet and leather/spandex pants to you.
Sam, being Captain America is an honor and a great experience, but it’s also a demanding job. I came face to face with Nazis, terrorists, and something S.H.E.I.L.D. kept calling “technocratic fascism,” but you’re going to face a much more formidable and insidious foe:
That’s right, Sam! Some people are going to try to claim that you don’t have the right to be Captain America because you’re black. As the kids say, that’s just bogus. I don’t want you to worry, though. I came up with some great tips to stand up to those awful bigots.
Pick Your Battles
Racists are everywhere–hiding in plain sight, like Skrulls. And like Skrulls, when one reveals itself to you, you’ve got to decide how to handle it. If you stopped to defeat everyone, you’d be exhausted in no time. It’s hard, but know that sometimes it’s not worth your time and it’s best to ignore ‘em. On the other hand, if push comes to shove, you should ALSO know that I’ve gotten that shield to bounce off as many as 5 heads before it lost steam on a good throw.
Sometimes the racists are just trying to throw you off your game. To be the best Captain that you can be, you’ve got to keep a cool head, Sam. Just calmly ask the racist to explain why you make a poor choice for Captain America. They probably don’t have a good reason, and you’ll look cooler than Black Widow disarming a nuclear warhead.
Lean on Your Allies
As a soldier, you know that you never go into battle alone. We’ve all got your back, Sam, from the Avengers to the Super Defenders to The Illuminati. (Yes, they do exist and yes, you are now a member and yes, the summer picnic is AMAZING.) The racists have strength in numbers, but we’ve got The Hulk. Game. Set. Match.
I know this isn’t your first time under the winged cowl, but this will be different from just filling in like last time. You’re about to become a lot more than just a costume.
The world is used to a traditional Captain, with traditional values. A Captain who stands for the American Way. A Captain born in the 1940s to carry a shield with the Stars and Bars in one hand and to punch out Hitler with the other. But a lot has changed in the last 70 years. Hydra became Al-Quaeda. The nation–and S.H.I.E.L.D.– took on their first minority leaders. The world became more connected; society became more diverse than ever.
There are lots of reasons why S.H.I.E.L.D and I picked you to be the next Captain America. Your strength, your intelligence, your bravery and, as some members of the committee pointed out, the way your thighs look in the outfit. The main reason I picked you, Sam, is that for too long in this country, heroes looked like me, and people like you weren’t given the opportunity to be heroes. It might ruffle a few feathers and piss off Hydra, but if we can inspire and uplift little boys and girls across the country, it’s worth it, and in the words of Nick Fury, “forget those motherf*&^%$s.”
P.S. I took your advice and embraced social media–I have my first friend! His name is “Tom.” This Myspace is indeed nifty.