Personality Assessment: Jackie Robinson
Every individual in our society is different; each person is known or described differently from one another. The Big Five Factors: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, are thought to describe and outline personality in all cultures and language families. They characterize the differences in humankind and can be used to predict or explain job performance. Jackie Robinson was a man who I would describe as having a strong and persevering personality. He grew up at a time when racial tensions were at their worst, and yet, managed to succeed and follow through with everything he faced.
At times he was forced to “suck it up,” although many times it meant being humiliated in front of thousands of people. However, everyone that Jackie Robinson encountered was impressed by his genuine personality.
In most situations, neuroticism is thought to be a negative trait. Jackie Robinson scored very low on this trait (total=23), meaning that he was calm, easy-going, and able to resist temptations. These facets are constantly demonstrated throughout Robinson’s autobiography. Robinson was the first African American to play in the Major Leagues for baseball.
He was considered the “experiment” of major league baseball. Although Robinson played for a team in the North, there was much resentment from the players of the Dodgers, many of whom were from the South. When he first started traveling with the team, not only was Robinson and his family separated from the team physically, they also had to face many derogatory comments from Robinson’s fellow teammates. However, Robinson kept his composure and sucked it up. As Robinson said, “I don’t believe there was a man in that game, including me, who though I could take that. I had to force back my anger….
with guts enough not to fight back” (78). Robinson demonstrated the opposite of impulsiveness in almost all of his actions. Over time, he “had learned how to exercise self-control – to answer insults, violence, and injustice with silence – and had learned how to earn the respect of (his) teammates” (81).
Jackie Robinson’s score for extraversion was a 78, meaning that although he was extraverted, at times he demonstrated some introverted traits. Although he was a friendly individual, Robinson, in many situations, was forced to keep to himself. In addition, he liked to take it easy whenever possible, gearing up for whatever was to come his way.
He also, however, had some extraverted traits, including the fact that from the time he started school, he was always active, whether it be in sports, or working with the First African American Bank or the NAACP. He was a true leader with the First African American Bank and the NAACP, speaking in front of many people, and being aggressive enough to accomplish what was needed.
Robinson constantly demonstrated attempts to be gregarious and to be recognized by others. Although he remembers “standing alone at first base – the only black man on the field,” he fought hard to become “just another guy”. Jackie Robinson never quit because things went the wrong way. If anything, hardships forced him to work harder at succeeding.
When he went on into the business world, he “always strove to learn as much as (he) could so (he) would not be just a figurehead” (287). Robinson believed in the utmost integrity, and was a fighter.
Jackie Robinson embraced every opportunity with open arms and full dedication. His score of 80 on openness to experience can be explained by his focus on the tasks, to which he was engaged, his acknowledgement of feelings, his willingness to try new and different activities, and his tendency to challenge current traditions. He believed that African Americans could become an important presence in baseball, and he tried his hardest to see it through. In addition, he realized the importance of a bank catered to less fortunate minorities, so he helped to anchor the First African American Bank in Harlem.
Robinson was honored to be the “token” in baseball. “He was proud to be in the hurricane eye of a significant breakthrough and to be used to prove that a sport can’t be called national if blacks are barred from it” (9). .