Learning from Pizza Hut

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This week’s Young Writers Project piece was written by Justin
Souvanh, a 7th grader at Brattleboro Area Middle
School. Justin’s piece is about a small
act – being handed a set of chopsticks to eat pizza of all things – made him feel
angry at being stereotyped but how, after much thought and many hours of
writing, he realized that his best response should be forgiveness.

For more great student writing go to youngwritersproject.org


My legs felt like they were about
to collapse after walking up and down the streets of China Town. All I
wanted was to relax and get a bite to eat, possibly Italian. The smell of
melting cheese was in the air and led me into a decent restaurant around the
corner called Pizza Hut. By this point my mouth was watery and my hand was
half way in my pocket reaching for my wallet. I had nothing but happy
thoughts, I thought that nothing could bring me down…. until
the employees at the restaurant gave me chopsticks, that’s right
chopsticks. That ruined my whole day and appetite. At first I thought it was a
joke, but when I looked around the place and saw that the only people
being handed chopsticks were Asian, I became upset. I mean that’s so
ignorant of them thinking that all Asians know how to use
chopsticks. It may sound ridiculous but even a small stereotypical
gesture can go a long way to offend people. That’s why I don’t like Pizza
Hut anymore.

Stereotypes are another way of
judging people negatively based on very small inaccurate information that might
not apply to everyone of that race or culture. Sometimes stereotypes are
funny, and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they’re true, and
sometimes they’re racist and hurtful. But it happens to everyone at least once
in their life. I admit that before my encounter with Pizza Hut I would embrace
stereotypes and make secret remarks about people and keep them to myself. But
now I know that it’s wrong to judge people before you get to know them
even if you keep it a secret.

Prejudiced people are everywhere,
but they might not even know it. Even the most unexpected people are
prejudiced, like adults, your closest friends, or maybe even you. Even I didn’t
realize that I was being negative before Pizza Hut came along. Unintentional or
intentional it’s no excuse because it still hurts. Even laughing at the "joke"
someone else makes hurts because in your mind you think that person is agreeing
with the negative comment. This is called being a bystander. I know Pizza Hut
wasn’t trying to offend me or Asians all around the world but that’s one of the
small things that can offend people. That’s why I believe that people should
think about what they say or do before they do it. Like when you are frustrated
with a peer.

The more I think about it the
more I realize that forgiveness is the only solution, not revenge. I
believe that when you’re knocked down you should just get back up without
continuing the fight. I forgive Pizza Hut and all of the people that have
teased me about my race. Instead of making me upset and afraid they have made
me learn to never make the mistake they made by judging other people. Besides,
Pizza Hut does sell pretty good pizzas.

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