The Avengers… on race?

The Comic-Con/Sci-Fi  geek in me is terrifically excited about the Avengers movie opening this Friday.  The cranky blogger in me recognizes that you do not follow this blog to witness the embarrassing details of a full-on nerdgasm.

Thus, Duane Freeman.

Duane Freeman is a bureaucrat that exists in the Marvel world of the Avengers.  Freeman is a capable administrator and well-intentioned government cog that serves as liaison to S.H.I.E.L.D., the organizational home to Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Agent Coulson, and the other heroes.  The Marvel illustrators draw Freeman in a manner that tells you much about the man.  Freeman is five foot six inches, 140 pounds, bald headed, and wears suits that are off the rack.  If you are not sure what that means, consider the converse.   Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) is 6’2”, 240 pounds with dashing good looks.

Freeman is not famous for being helpful or even celebrating the work of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  Freeman is famous for pushing the Avengers to hire more minority heroes.

Tony “Iron Man” Stark gave the official response to Freeman.

“We don’t recruit for skin color.  The Avengers aren’t about equal representation – the squads are too small for that.  We’re about getting the job done – and that’s it.  We’ve had minority members for years – from black and Hispanic heroes to gypsies and mythological gods.  We’d never exclude anyone – anyone – because of their race.”

Duane Freeman is not a bad guy – not at all.  Freeman just does not get it.  He is missing the point and focused on the wrong things.  To our frustration, we each have more in common with Freeman than with Steve Rogers.  The lesson is to focus on what is important, and finally, learn to view people for who they are and what they are worth – and that has nothing to do with something so superficial as skin color.

Look at it this way.  Though they may battle space monsters and super villains, the Marvel universe is utterly unimportant.  Yet we cheer the righteous dismissal of Freeman by Stark.  The events in our world are important.  Who will teach our children, or fight our fires, or operate on our loved ones, or lead our country, are important considerations.  If a comic book drawing knows enough to always put the best person on the job regardless of skin color, should not we?

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