This document is an excerpt from 'Big Girls Don't Cry', a novel by Connie Briscoe, published in 1996. Itdeals with an ordinary American family who has decided to go to the restaurant.
Their choice is a Chinese restaurant that the father knows well, even if he has never been inside. Indeed, heknows it because it is also a take-away restaurant he is used to going. Moreover, the owners have always made him welcome.
When the family get into the place, the children – Naomi and Joshua –are talking about the movie they will see after the dinner. So they don't understand when their parents tell them they can't have dinner in this restaurant. The mother says it's because there areno tables free. But the father doesn't want to hide the truth. He thinks they are old enough to understand why they have been turned out. At that moment, we learn that they are colored people.The text raises a serious issue in American society in the 60s : racial discrimination. Firstly, we don't understand why they are turned out before the end, which adds some suspense to thistext. Moreover, as the owners of the restaurant are Chinese, we may feel surprised. Do they turn out colored people because they can't stand them or do they fear they might lose customers (whitecustomers) if they let them have a meal in their restaurant ? It's difficult to answer. Secondly, the parents seem to be accustomed to this discrimination and they do not protest. Why ? It's clearthe mother wants to protect her children 'you want to spare their feelings'. But we learn at the end of the text, that the children have already been discriminated against too.'I already know about'em', 'me too'. They should protest but they don't because for years they have been brainwashed into believing they are inferior and they are resigned to being treated as second-class citizens.