Brownie: White American and Octavia

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The short story “Brownies” written by Z.Z. Packer is told in first person by a young introverted African American girl named Laurel, known as “Snot” to her friends from school. The story reflects back during a summer camp outing at Camp Crescendo that involves a small group of young African American fourth grade girls from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. In this story the author provides countless details of how the effects of social segregation and racism can have a negative impact on our children and our entire society. Arnetta, the leader of the Brownie pack disliked sharing the summer camp with the young girls of Troop 909 from day one because they were white. Referring to them as “Invaders”, because in the suburbs of Atlanta they were rarely seen or even thought about(358). While riding in their bus on their way to the cabin and after they had already passed the Troop 909 girls at the front gate, Arnetta asked, “Did you smell that?” Trying to make fun of the girls she threw her head up and with her nose pointed to the sky she said they smell like “wet Chihuahuas”. By the end of the day and with a plan to entice her Brownie troops to start a fight with the Troop 909 girls, Arnetta stated that she heard one of them call Daphne a nigger and that they couldn’t let them get away with that. When asked to confirm that one of the white girls said it, Daphne was hesitant to answer until Arnetta gave her an elbow followed with a mean stair down. Daphne was not the type of girl that would stand up for oneself and was too scared to speak up. Even at their Woodrow Wilson Elementary school, if someone doesn’t fit into their little group or doesn’t land a perfect ten after jumping off the swing at the playground, Arnetta and Octavia would reply using the word “Caucasian”. This was just another way in belittling other people and displaying that Caucasian race was below that of the African Americans. Octavia was considered to be Arnetta’s right hand woman. Octavia was...
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