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Demarcus Cullman and the Powers that Be by Cole Parker


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​This story appears at a timely moment since the contents speak to major issues we now face in our society. Perhaps Cole has been culling his ideas from the news, but then so do most socially conscious authors.

​Discrimination in its many forms occupies the centerpiece of Cole's story, just in case anyone thinks our country has solved these issues. Not only do we have a racial minority storyline, there is also the gay persecution angle which makes this story very appropriate for AD. Bullying in any form is wrong, and made even worse when it comes from those in charge.

​Most of us understand the part about all men are created equal, we learned it in civics class, and it makes me wonder if that is even taught anymore. If bullying and bigotry are bad they become even worse when the source is religion. Cole manages to bring it all together in a well placed story with likeable characters, even the ignorant ones, who learn a lesson in this plot. Well done, Cole.

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I love this story as it explores vital issues and raises interesting points. Unfortunately I suspect there are few school administrators who have either the competence or the insight to do what is done in this story. That is something to be regretted.

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Excellent short story, confirming that the author's first name must begin with "Col" on the short story listings at the moment.

I think Cole's school-based stories often feature decent adults in key roles, even where (as in this case) there are some inexcusable ones as well. On the whole I think Cole sounds a more optimistic overall note for schools than some authors do.

The outcome with the teacher involved was lovely -- a joint opportunity for growth.


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This is a powerful story with a message for all. I think too often white people in America think that legislation has removed most racism and, indeed, progress has been made, but there are institutional forms as well as overt forms still present in our society. Often, as well, there are times when we don't realize we are being racist, as happens in this story. We also see both racism and homophobia. Congratulations to Cole on a moving story with nuance, a strong message, and a great ending.

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It seems from comments here that we've all made the assumption that the faculty and staff at this school are all white. Sounds a bit like a prejudiced view from the outset.

How would this be different if the adults were blacks? If this were a predominantly black school rather than the ~20 black kids cited? In the real world do the statistics show those as more closely in line with discipline rates at white kids in white schools or just as biased?

Is the staffer correct in saying, "The parents of those black kids don't mess around"? Is that discipline or is it abuse and violence that begets more violence?

Yes, it's an excellent story. But I think that there are much broader questions to be addressed that are, quite literally, less black and white.

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If you can access it, watch the TV show American Crime. I get it on Netflix, but the announcements at the end indicate that it's an ABC production (that's the U.S. one, not the one from Oz). It's addressing these same racial issues and adding a gay rape as well. It's very well done.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Thanks for the kudos, guys. Kids seem to have an elevated sense of fairness. Even preschoolers can be heard shouting, "That's not fair!" Life teaches us life isn't fair, but even through the teen years kids remain outraged at acts of unfairness.

I applaud this outrage, and share it. And I can think of few things more outrageous than discriminating against elements of our society that are vulnerable and defenseless. Yet it happens all the time, even in our schools as statistics show. Schools should be bastions of equal opportunity and ultimate fairness for all.

This wasn't a typical story for me, but it was one I felt viscerally about. All people should be judged as individuals, not as stereotypes. That is definitely unfair!


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  • 1 month later...

This story ought to be slipped into the school system somehow, send free copies to every straight/Gay alliance or better yet get it into redneck awareness programs. Perhaps the LA police could make use of it.

Seriously, its one of the best and most timely pieces I have read in years, well done Cole.

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  • 3 years later...

Back as a "Pick from the Past."

I knew that I had read this because I recognized the title, but quickly realized I was thinking of a different Cole Parker story.

In all my years I don't believe I have ever known a "Lyndon."  But then again I have never known a "DeMarcus" either.


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Lyndon Baines Johnson was our 36th president.  But even better, we must not overlook the late unlamented wingnut Lyndon LaRouche.

DeMarcus Cousins was set to go down in sports history as a failed superstar until his 28 minute appearance for the Golden State Warriors this past Sunday evening saved their asses for another futile try at defeating Toronto.

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7 hours ago, Merkin said:

Lyndon Baines Johnson was our 36th president.  But even better, we must not overlook the late unlamented wingnut Lyndon LaRouche.

But I have never had a personal acquaintance with a Lyndon.  I only saw LBJ on television.


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