“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Character: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
After having served in the U.S. Army for 23-years I have learned to judge individuals by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.
I served in a military where men of all colors swore an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Those with whom I served, and all those who have served honorably, are my brothers for he who sheds his blood with me is forever my brother.
As an officer, and commander of multiple units, I was responsible to judge the characters of those who served under me. I had the authority, under Article 15 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, to be the judge, jury and punisher of those soldiers who broke military laws and regulations. Just as I was subject to the same codes, laws and regulations.
Having served in combat I know about the content of others, and my own, characters. There is nothing like the heat of battle to bring out both the best and worst in men, and now women, in our military.
Understanding the character of individuals is a fundamental key to effective leadership.
Sadly today, character has taken a backseat to the color of one’s skin.
- If you are white you are automatically labeled a racist.
- If you are black you are automatically given a free pass on the content of your character.
- If you are neither white or black, you are considered to be irrelevant or marginalized.
In a column titled “The Vague Grounds of ‘Systemic’ Racism” David Carlin asks:
Is “systemic racism” real? Or is it an abuse of language, stretching the meaning of the word “racism” beyond its legitimate bounds?
The Oxford English Dictionary‘s first recorded utterance of the word racism was by a man named Richard Henry Pratt in 1902. Pratt was railing against the evils of racial segregation.
Segregating any class or race of people apart from the rest of the people kills the progress of the segregated people or makes their growth very slow. Association of races and classes is necessary to destroy racism and classism.
Racism has become a construct that has been turned into an effective weapon used by some to create racial division both in America and globally.
Their goal isn’t to unite Americans but to divide us. Their goal isn’t to unite the world it’s to divide it.
A divided people are easily manipulated and controlled.
It is an easily used word to win an argument with someone whom you disagree with. If you want to shut down any discussion with a white, black, Hispanic, oriental or American Indian then just call him or her a “racist.”
Racism is the ultimate political club.
When we judge people by what they do, by their character, then we are judging outcomes, not the color of one’s skin. Do good, do well and you are contributing to yourself, your family, your community, your state and the nation.
Do badly and you harm yourself and others.
You see, character has a moral basis. It is a religious construct.
1 Corinthians 15:33 warns,
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Character is a choice between doing good or doing evil.
Without character what are we but mere animals?
How do you judge people?
Where I Come From by Alan Jackson
©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.