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"All Are Equal ..." This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


     I like the line from the Declaration ofIndependence, "All men are created equal." I try to live by this ideal.I'm two races, black and white, and I consider myself equal to anyone. My parentstaught me to be accepting of all people. My mother said, "Treat others asyou would have them treat you." I think I do a good job following this andhave always believed that if I was compassionate to others I could expect thesame in return. My dad always told me that if I respected people they wouldrespect me, but I've realized this is not always true.

I have often goneto a particular restaurant with my mother, who is white. Ninety-five percent ofthe customers and all the restaurant's employees are white, so I think it is safeto say it is a white restaurant. I always looked forward to going because theyhave fried fish night every Friday and I love fried fish. I remember the smell ofthe fish, the live band and the murmur of arcade games in the background. I neverstayed at our table for long, since I always asked my mother for a quarter to"play a game, just one." Of course, it never was just one. Eventually Ialways lost and would run back to her for more coins and a sip of the greatestdrink ever made, Mr. Pibb. She always obliged without complaint. Just into mythird game I would hear my mother call me back because the food had come. I lovedthat restaurant.

I loved it so much I wanted my dad, who is black, toenjoy it, too. I begged - no, pleaded - with him to take me one Friday. He saidhe had been there once and didn't really care to go back, not saying why.However, he finally gave in to my requests.

When we arrived I was metwith that delightful smell of fried fish. My dad and I were greeted by thehostess and told there would be a 20 minute wait. I said, "No biggie,"never thinking that I had never had to wait before. Once seated - at a table inthe far corner where the band was hard to hear and the games a long walk away - Iasked for money for the arcades.

I played, and reached the highest score Ihad ever gotten. Beaming, I ran back to my dad and noticed there was no Mr. Pibb.I asked where it was, and he said no one had come to take his order. He soonflagged down a waitress, but she said our table was not hers and she'd get ourwaitress. I said, "No biggie," and went to play more arcade games.

When I came back, without a high score, there still was no Mr. Pibb. Mydad told me to stay at the table while he talked to the manager. The restaurantwas loud, but I could tell their conversation was not pleasant. My dad came backand said, "Let's go." I asked why and he said coldly, "We need to.I'll tell you later."

The ride home was quiet. As soon as we gothome, my dad sat me down. He told me that when he went to that restaurant yearsago, before I was born, the waiters were rude and served his food cold. He toldme that when he asked why, the waitress said, "Isn't that how your peoplelike it? You know, since you're used to scraps from plates of others." Mydad said he complained to the manager, who said, "If you don't like it,leave."

My dad vowed never to go back, but my pleading had changedhis mind. He had hoped the restaurant might have changed over time, but it hadnot. When he complained to the manager, a different manager, he, too said,"If you don't like it, leave."

This upset me. The next time mymother asked me to go to that restaurant, I told her I didn't want to go. Whenshe asked why, I said, "It isn't my type of restaurant." I never wentback. That experience helped me realize all are not equal.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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