Otherness in Z.Z Packer's "Brownies

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The theme of otherness is a harsh, yet sad reality that is the main focus in Z.Z Packer’s “Brownies.” Through the isolation of races, as well as Laurel and her Brownie troop, the overall experience of “otherness” is affected. This main focus of the isolation of race between the two Brownie troops are exemplified during the story through the help of the narrator, Laurel. While reading Z.Z Packer’s “Brownies,” it is noted that the Brownie troop and troop 909 both represent different groups of “others” through the isolation of race that they’ve been exposed to since a very early stage. All troops in the summer camp are either all white or all black. The black girls in the story were raised in a racially isolated environment, away from white girls as said by Laurel, “When you lived in the south suburbs of Atlanta, it was easy to forget about whites. Whites were like those baby pigeons: real and existing, but rarely seen or thought about.” (pg.71) This remark exemplifies how neither of the troops are used to having to deal with each other. Because of their inability to deal with the white girls, the black girls are very mindful of the differences between themselves and the whites. Right away, this causes the black girls to try to put themselves above the white troop which becomes evident when Arnetta says “Man, did you smell them?” (pg.70) This is completely ridiculous. Another remark the black girls make in order to give the white girls feel a sense of otherness occurs when they learn the term “Caucasian.” (pg.71) They find this term to be humorous and use it any chance they get. Not only do the girls in the Brownies troop use the term “Caucasian” to refer to troop 909, they also use the term “Invaders” to make them feel a sense of otherness and unbelonging. As a result of their ignorance, the black girls isolate and judge the white girls without even knowing them. When looking at Daphne, we notice that Daphne is extremely shy and poor. She also takes great pride in...
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