Joe Dean Sr., Mr. String Music and an LSU/college basketball legend, passes away

Dale Brown

We all must have the courage to speak out about the violence and murder in our community. Far too many people are afraid of speaking the truth because they might be considered a racist or Uncle Tom.

Silence has always been evil's greatest ally. Most are unaware that the founding members of the NAACP in 1908 were four blacks and four whites.

We must know the facts before we can have a solution. Here are the facts:

Fact one: history.

African Americans have had to suffer through 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of separate but equal and 35 years of racist housing policies. Until we recognize and understand the pain this has caused them we can never be whole.

Fact two: fear.

Many African American friends of mine from all over our nation have told me they fear the violent dysfunctional behavior that has made murder the No. 1 cause of death for black males 15-34; sadly, most of them are killed by other black men.

Neighbors must inform the police about the thugs that are terrorizing them. The only thing more powerful than fear is the boldness of faith.

Fact three: fathers.

What helps to perpetuate the problems in the African American community is that 75% of all births are out-of-wedlock and 70% of these poor children are growing up in single-parent households.

Denzel Washington said, "If the father is not in the home, the boy will find a father in the streets."

Fact four: education.

Lack of education is another major problem; 75% of all crimes are committed by high school dropouts. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. profoundly stated, "Change can only happen through education, justice and unity. No Emancipation Proclamation, no civil rights bill can give us freedom. Man can only be free when he reaches down in the inner depths of his own being and signs his own emancipation proclamation."

Fact five: excuses.

George Washington Carver, who grew up in a slave family, became an inventor and professor at Tuskegee University. He stated, "Most failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."

You can never move from victim to victory until you eliminate all excuses and quit feeling sorry for yourself.

Fact six: unity

Nineteen of 21 notable civilizations died from within and not by conquest from without. Famous author Napoleon Hill said, "It will be recorded by the last chapter of man’s crimes that his most grievous sin was that of intolerance."

It is clear we have lost our moral compass and there is no easy answer to our cultural crisis but following the Ten Commandments and living by the Golden Rule would be a good start to change the course of destruction we are on.

People can be divided into three groups: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.

To which group do you belong to? Highly respected columnist Charles Krauthammer wisely stated, "You’re betraying your whole life if you don't say what you think."

Dale Brown, former LSU head basketball coach, is a motivational speaker. He lives in Baton Rouge.