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The Cycle Of Racism In ZZ Packer's 'Brownies'

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The Cycle Of Racism In ZZ Packer's 'Brownies'
“Brownies”
Race: A word thick with history, and especially offense. In ZZ Packer’s “Brownies,” racism is shown in its full form. In “Brownies” a young group of African American girls are affected by the racial slurs supposedly called by another group of Caucasian girls while attending a summer camp. Throughout the story these young girls attempt to solve their problems with their own solutions, rather than to consult an adult, and come in conflict with multiple problems. Race plays an integral part in this story as the girls take great offense to these supposed slurs. Furthered by peer pressure of the group, as well as ignorance of adults and society, it is unlikely that this young group of girls will escape the cycle of racism that their
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The narrator’s descriptions of Mrs. Margolin represented her as a very dull, and trusting woman who is easily fooled and not strict. Mrs. Margolin is so immersed in her biblical acronyms that she believes that her troop members are all good girls, allowing for girls like Arnetta to easily fool Mrs. Margolin. This is shown as the narrator states “Arnetta always made a point of listening to Mrs. Margolin’s religious talk and giving her what she wanted to hear”(39) Furthermore, Mrs. Hedy, Octavia’s mother is the chaperone of the Troop, however it is shown as that she rarely cares as she has unchecked marital problems with her husband. The narrator states that “When Octavia’s mother wasn’t giving bored, parochial orders, she sniffled continuously, mourning an imminent divorce from her husband”(44). According to umaine.edu, Respect is a two Way Street in which both participants, the adult and child, must actively participate to get any respect from each other. This is exactly what isn’t happening with Mrs. Hedy and Mrs. Margolin and her troop. Since the children no longer fear their adults, nor had any respect for them, it was easy for the troop members to dismiss their authority, and blatantly lie and deceive them. This lack of respect given by the group of girls, coupled with the ignorance of adults fosters the growth of racism within the troop, as the group easily lies to the adults about their whereabouts, like when Arnetta states, “I handled them… I told her we was going to gather leaves”(42). These girls are also further shaped by the society they happen to live in. The narrator Snot states that “When you live 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”(40). They never really had that much interaction with

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