SPOILER ALERT – Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Content warning/Trigger warning: Sexual harassment
After seeing Ayo show up at the end of episode 3, I was geeked to tune into episode 4. The Dora Milaje from Marvel movies Civil War, Black Panther, Infinity War, and Endgame are this black girl’s childhood desires come to cinematic representation. #Blackgirlmagic on 100! Integrity. Strength. Beauty. Grace.
Ayo and Bucky reach a mutual understanding regarding the terrorist Zemo, who Bucky indirectly, yet intentionally, broke out of prison. Zemo is the wealthy, grief-ridden terrorist who killed King Tchaka to gain access to Bucky. Zemo, however, remains true to his character and his own means of vigilante justice by going rogue during the mission. So, Ayo along with the Dora Milaje arrive to collect Zemo.
Captain American or as I call him Captain Assface is also trying to arrest Zemo. He attempts to exert his U.S. American military authority in a foreign country over a foreign prisoner by stating the Dora Milaje have no jurisdiction there. Uh, Captain Assface neither do you! Sam warns the fake Cap not to get into a violent encounter with Ayo but Captain Assface does not listen. Instead, he turns back to Ayo and says, “We got off on the wrong foot” as he puts his hand on her shoulder. I gasped, yes literally gasped. My body cringed and seized up. “No he didn’t!” I yelled in my head (my son was in the next room).
Captain Assface had the nerve to talk about who doesn’t have jurisdiction and then put his hand uninvited and unwanted on an elite-ranking, global warrior’s shoulder?! This woman battled Thanos. What ensued next let Captain Assface know he had absolutely zero, zilch jurisdiction over her body and her space.
Here is why that entire interaction triggered me. From my childhood years, I have experienced white boys and white men operating as if they had jurisdiction over my body. As a five-year-old, one of my friends a white boy on my street decided that I was going to be his girlfriend. He grabbled my hand and proceeded to walk me down the sidewalk. Not quite sure what this girlfriend thing was but I knew I felt uncomfortable with my hand being taken by his, and I felt I had no right to question it.
In junior high, a white teen thought it was funny to repeatedly slap my butt and run away. One day, I was ready for him. I saw him coming from my periphery. I waited. When I thought his hand outstretched was close enough to me, I spun around and grabbed his arm, twisted it behind him, and shoved him against my locker. “Keep your fucking hands off of me!” I let him go. He muttered, “Black bitch,” and walked away. A white male teacher saw the entire ordeal. He did nothing.
So, what is it about Captain Assface, ass-grabbing white teen, and hand-snatching white boy that makes them think they have jurisdiction over black women and black girls bodies? White male supremacy. Yes, it is simple as that. The systemic structure of America’s white male supremacy innately informs white men that they have jurisdiction wherever they find themselves to be and over whomever they choose. It is this racist, bias thinking that is injected into the roots of American history and sprawling through America’s present. This is the root that needs to be killed so this systemic racist structure can die.
Thus, I unapologetically giggle and guffaw with glee as the Dora Milaje dominate in the fight and the vibranium shield ends up in their hands. Such a powerful moment of symbolism. The vibranium shield is from Wakanda, which is located fictionally in Africa. The Wakandans use the vibranium with respect and with intention for good. By seizing the shield, the Dora Milaje sends the message of reclamation:
We are taking back everything you took from us.