13 March 2014
More than just “Brownies”
“Brownies,” by ZZ Packer is about a Brownie troop of fourth-grade African American girls from suburban Atlanta, Georgia, who go to summer camp. (Gale) At the camp, they have an altercation with another troop called troop 909 which were all white girls. They believed that one of the white girls addressed them with a racial insult by calling one of them the “N” word. Apparently they feel offended and seek revenge. So, they decide to beat up the white girls to resolve the conflict. Eventually they find out that the girls from troop 909 are mentally challenged. (Gale) The story “Brownie” by ZZ Packer demonstrates reverse racism and emphasizes the issues of hypocrisy and double standards.
“Brownies,” demonstrates reverse racism because the Brownie troop of African American girls discriminated against the dominant racial group, Troop 909. When you think of racism you normally think of the dominant group discriminating against people with color. ZZ Packer really demonstrates these issues but with a twist. She also begins writing her story in first person which makes the reader more engaged in the story because it makes the story more realistic. Laurel, the narrator says “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” (179). This suggests that obviously the girls in the story are young and are too young to understand and be aware of racism. They are affected by racial thoughts of the people around them. As a result, because they didn’t have proper knowledge of racism stereotypes and myths were made. The story starts off with a rumor and a racial slur by one of the girls from the Brownie Troop named Arnetta.
“Man, did you smell them?” Arnetta said, giving the girls a slow once-over, “They smell like Chihuahuas. Wet Chihuahuas” (177). They also start to
Cited: "Overview: 'Brownies '." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 25. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. Packer, ZZ. "Brownies." Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, Fourth Edition. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson, 2012. 177-194. Print.