Brownies by ZZ Packer

Topics: Black people, Racism, Race Pages: 3 (1127 words) Published: December 9, 2013
The writer ZZ Packer’s short story, “Brownies,” is about a troop of African-American Girl Scouts from south Atlanta that takes a camping trip; unfortunately, almost instantly, imaginary tensions build up between them and Troop 909, a group of white girls; struggle that later in this story develops as the main external conflict. Arnetta and Octavia, appear as the leaders of the group, and insist that the 909 girls called one of their group a derogatory word which is the starting point of the conflict. Consequently, a confrontation rapidly takes place between the teams, but this quarrel turns awry when the African-American girls realize the white members of Troop 909 are developmentally disabled and it becomes clear to the reader that Octavia and Arnetta probably make the accusation up. Nevertheless, the short narrative by Packer goes further than a simple camping conflict between rival teams. This story argues that when individuals have seen or experienced suffering for so long, in this case the African-American girls, they unintentionally react by becoming the agent of despair to others regardless guilt of innocence. To begin with, it is suitable to state that the encounter of the two Brownie Troops, black and white, early in the story is mainly based on skin color differences. At the start of this narrative, Lauren, the narrator of this account says: By our second day at Camp at Cresencio, the girls in my Brownie Troops had decided to kick the asses of each and every girl at Brownie Troop 909. Troop 909 was doomed from the first day of camp; they were the white girls, their complexions a blend of ice-cream: strawberry, vanilla (177). The girls in the two groups had never spoken to each other, yet the desire to fight the “Wet Chihuahuas” as the African-American girls once called the girls in Troop 909, was evident. Furthermore, later in the story, Packer reveals that the African-American girls’ prejudice, bitterness, and mistreat towards the white group is a...
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