On Martin Luther King Day, The Tribune published an opinion piece by Jesse Washington regarding the meaning of “character” in Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. I would like to offer a less pedantic interpretation.
First of all, there is only one race on our planet Earth. This human race is made up of a fascinating variety of cultural ethnicities. Ethnicities establish value-based goals for ethical behavior. None of the different ethnicities is free from imperfection.
Character flaws occur in all human beings, and most of us struggle to overcome those flaws, unless our character is weakened temporarily or chronically. A person’s character is demonstrated by their behavior. A person’s behavior mirrors the ethics of their motivation. If a person’s motivation is mostly focused on benefiting themselves, it is defined as narcissistic.
Narcissism is a common character flaw of criminals and individuals that others eventually avoid. This is because they lack empathy for other people. In other words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This concept permeates most of the various spiritual and philosophical paths contained in the ethnicities of human beings. Ethical behavior is what I believe Dr. King is referring to when it comes to content of character.