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 uarrel 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 n the two groups had never spoken to each other, yet the desire to fght 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 consequence of their parents’ deep antipathy shown to the white community. “Shot” the narrator describes on page 187 “We have all been taught that adulthood is full of sorrow and pain, and taxes and bills, dreaded work and dealing with whites, sickness and death”.
In this excerpt ZZ Packer clearly points out that the aversion the girls feel towards the whites is not based on their own experiences, but rather their families. According to their parents, dealing with “whites” was a problem every adult had to face. Lauren’s statement clearly exposes the young African-American girls’ lack of reasoning on racism, and thus portrays the parents as the responsible for the children’s behavior. Resentment on behalf of the parents did indeed have a huge impact in the brownies.
Pursuing this situation further, racial segregation the African American brownies xperienced in their communities, is the major cause of affliction in the young children. Lauren affirms: When you live in the suburbs of Atlanta, it was easy to forget about whites. Whites were like those pigeons: real and existing, but rarely seen or thought about… everyone had seen white girls and their mother coo-coing over dresses; everyone had gone to downtown library and seen white businessmen swish by importantly, wrists flexed in front of them to check the time as though they would change from Clark Kent into Superman… ose images were a fleeing as cards shuffled in a deck, where as the ten white girls behind us were real and memorable community. Everything about them somehow seems to exude a kind of reigning beauty that results in an “enw and hatred” the blacks have against the whites. Even little things like hair could produce these hostile feelings, according to the fourth grader. “Their long, shampoo-commercial hair, straight as spaghetti from the box”, as Lauren describes, nutrients the prejudices that finally help bring about racism.
The orced separation that troop experienced in addition to exposure of only glimpses of White people, can explain the white girls as “invaders’ and hence, the enemy. It is not concretely clear that the White girls used a racial slur, but if they had it seemed because of their disabilities it would not have been intentional. However, the White girls may have indeed repeated what they had heard. This would point directly to prejudice that still exists in Modern day times. In society, racial conflict might be understandable among adults; nevertheless, resentment is young children must not e tolerated.
Packer deliberately sets the characters as children dealing with adult issues in order to convey a higher impact with her argument. The author intentionally presents two historically rival groups in America, blacks and whites, to prove the argument that when individuals, have experienced discrimination, prejudice, and inequality for so long, it is understandable if unintended retaliation takes place. Some of the girls in the African-American group did not even want to encounter the girls from Troop 909, yet Octavia carried so much hatred inside, that he forced all the other girls to comply with her suffering.
Octavia not only experienced the segregation everyone else did, but she also had to deal with her parents’ divorce. The reality is that when an individual is resentful, he or she may involuntarily yearn for people to suffer the same as he or she does, or did. . In the final analysis of the short narrative by ZZ Packer, “Brownies”, the most compelling evidence of the author’s argument can clearly be seen as the end of the story. The narrator retells an account she had with her father, when they were at the mall and
Laurel’s father deliberately asked a religious white group to paint their porch. Shockingly, the Mennonites could not refuse to do so because it is part of their religion to “help others”. However, it is not until Laurel retells the story when she finally understands, and explains the cause of resentment in his father. She recalls her father’s words as she was speaking: “it was the only time he’d have a white mad on his knees doing something for a black man for free” (193). Laurel’s father railed against whites because of the historically rivalry in the United States.
African Americans were considered slaves for more than a hundred years until 1865, and have been discriminated ever since. They worked for the white for free, suffering the worst treatment a human being can receive. They were considered property. Consequently, on Packer’s point of view, resentment towards the white community is expected even in contemporary days. Because as Laurel pointed out at the end of this narrative “When youVe been made to feel badly for so long, you Jump at the chance to do it to others” (194).