The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Humanity keeps blacks pointed toward future

By John Harden and Gary Collins/sports editor and reporter

After the election of President Barack Obama, some have asked what the next great leap will be for blacks, but a more central question came from South Campus President Ernest Thomas.

“What is it that makes ­— in spite of the derogations and all the negatives we experience — what makes African-Americans unique in that they continue to contribute to the human family?” he said.

Thomas said the greatness of blacks dates back before slavery and continues today through their sense of humanity.

“The answer to that question is rooted in the value that we as African people operate from,” he said.

“The primary value is regardless of the current circumstance, and our present condition is not our conclusion, and that antiquity is called Ma’at, which means we must have balance, harmony and love in order for us to persist.”

Thomas said that the time during slavery is the greatest example of blacks illustrating their sense of balance and harmony even during times of great struggle.

During the times of their captivity, blacks demonstrated that they had developed a sense of harmony with their current condition despite how they were treated.

“There have been many catastrophes that have occurred within our race,” he said. “But we as a people were still able to move to another level of greatness by maintaining our sense of humanity and hospitality.” 

Thomas sees that despite the conditions blacks endured, they did not lose their sense of humanity.

Thomas said the proof of their humanity comes from the situation where during the days of captivity, there were more people in captivity than there were overseers.

“Now there were rebellions, but we didn‘t wipe out our overseers,” he said.

“But, statistically, we could have in some areas, but that’s our sense of humanity. That’s a strong fundamental value that we operate from.”

The strong fundamental belief that Thomas has, answers the question of how blacks continue to contribute to the human race.

Thomas said that the answer to the question of what’s next for blacks has always continued to stay the same.

“There are a number of great achievements that African-Americans have yet to make, but the next big thing is the thing that’s always facing us: to enhance the quality of our lives for this generation and the generations yet unborn,” he said.

Because of opportunities that have become available by the struggles of past generations, first-generation college students such as SE Campus business instructor Regina Cannon have succeeded where her parents could not.

Coming from working class parents with little formal education, she managed to plan her own college career. Cannon’s parents could do little to support her financially but remained supportive of her choices.

“I’m actually the first to get a degree,” she said. “On my mother’s side, my uncle was the only one to get a degree, but on my father’s side, I was the first.”

Even though her parents lacked a formal education, they understood the needs and benefits of a college education.

Cannon received an accounting degree from Paul Quinn College and worked for the city of Dallas and Chrysler. With a passion to teach, Cannon earned an MBA from Amberton University.

The support that Cannon received from her parents reflects how blacks continue to thrive.

“My mom was very involved, you know like when I was in elementary, she taught us from the beginning reading, writing and math,” she said. “I was really good at math. She was really big on that. She was really big on us being able to write clearly and speak clearly and things to that nature.”

Thomas said blacks’ greatest achievement continues to be following in the footprints of their ancestors and creating new prints to follow.

“I’m sure as a people, we’ll continue to experience many firsts and the range of firsts will become small. But as the circle of life is concerned, the greatest achievement that we as a people can accomplish was defined by our elders and ancestors,” Thomas said.

“And that was and that is to live out our lives based on the principles of Ma’at to strive for truth, balance, harmony and love.”

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