Function Order: Si-Fe-Ti-Ne
Unlike his sister, who wants to overturn everything about their culture and has very little respect for ‘how things are done,’ T’Challa is “old school” and has a strong faith in ‘how things have always been’ with his people, and believes in their traditions of his people to the point of self-sacrifice; he agrees to let his cousin challenge him for leadership, even though technically he could refuse. He sees no reason to change the way things are done, or bring his country out of isolation, even when his family and ex-girlfriend pressure him to do so. T’Challa has become comfortable with how things are. He is also steeped in respect for family; he is horrified to discover his father ‘betrayed’ and had his own brother murdered for his radical views, then abandoned his son to live alone in America rather than bringing him home. He constantly references the ways of their people (“waging war is never our way”) and uses it as justification to remain somewhat passive on a global scale, because he lacks the ability to see the big picture. Through his personal experiences, he witnesses what Killmonger has felt and experienced and uses that to change his ideas of what they can do as a nation; he opens them up to the rest of the world and begins sharing their resources. T’Challa also has an incredibly powerful Fe – he is openly emotional, easily touched by others’ suffering, and immediately thinks of how Erik must have felt, finding his father dead and being abandoned for so many years. He begs someone who has challenged him to a fight to the death to change his mind, and surrender, because ‘your people need you.’ He makes most of his decisions from a basis of ‘we’ – speaking collectively of those he serves. Others say he is a ‘good man, with a good heart.’ When Nakia suggests they should be doing more to help other nations and people, it makes him question whether their policy of isolation is right (“should we be helping them?”). T’Challa is compassionate and driven by his feelings; he can’t let Everett die “when it is in my power to save him,” and does not listen to his guard when she points out the potential rational consequences of exposing Everett to their technology. At first, T’Challa hides behind his ‘duty’ to his own countrymen, but also has a strong negative reaction to Killmonger wanting to cause chaos and anarchy, and rise up people to ‘murder their oppressors and their children’ (“It is not our way to be judge, jury, and executioner over people who are not our own; I am not the king of all, but of my people”). He often extends mercy to his enemies, even when it is unwise, and later, acknowledges that they have a larger responsibility to the people of the world (“We have let the fear of our discovery stop us from doing what is right. It is our cause, for all of us!”). He later rouses others to join a common cause, by saying, “The wise build bridges. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were a single tribe.”) When brought back to life, T’Challa convinces an old rival to join him for the greater good of all, but also points out that Erik will come for him next. He has a desperate need to understand the decisions his father made, and to know why he did not bring his nephew back to live among his family. T’Challa is not a visionary, but takes others’ desires, ideas, and views of the future and incorporates them into his own decisions about what to do (expand into the world, become known, and set an example to the world).
Enneagram: 1w9 sp/so
T’Challa is principled and always wants to do what is right; he is willing to accept his cousin’s challenge for the throne, because he feels that his father did the wrong thing when he murdered Erik’s father and left him alone in the world. He is willing to accept the judgment of others, and also inclined not to listen to others at times – he has no interest in expanding their borders or influence until he witnesses the suffering of others himself, and has thought it through and decided it is the right thing to do. Later, he chooses sides in the Civil War based on these rigid principles, and his ideas about who is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man. He represses his anger, and even offers his cousin the chance to live (“we could still heal you”); but it takes him a long time to move out of his passivity into direct action – it has to come on behalf of his people, to stop Erik from doing terrible things, rather than out of a sense of generosity. He would rather keep his borders small, and remain unaffected by the suffering in the greater world, ignoring it and considering it not his problem.