“Brownies” by ZZ Packers is a story told in first person, and it happens at Camp Crescendo. It is a story narrated by an African America girl by the name Laurel, nicknamed by other girls as Snot. She belongs to the Brownie Troop, and they are planning to rock horns with the Brownie Troop 909. It is good to note that Laurel’s troop is made up of black girls while Brown Troop 909 is made of all white girls. The two troops are rivals owed to their race. They hated one another from the time they first met, and the black girls said the white girls smelled “like Chihuahuas, Wet Chihuahuas” (Packer, 9). Throughout their stay in the camp, they engage in nasty things against each other owed to their hatred. In the story, people of different backgrounds …show more content…
Somehow, everything about the whites appear to elicit a reigning beauty that raises hatred and envy the black girls have against the white girls. Packer argues that even small thing like hair contributes to hostility. The fourth grade says; “their long, shampoo-commercial hair, straight as spaghetti from the box” (Packer, 16). These reinforcements are ingredients of prejudice that brings about racial discrimination. The black girls get jealous of the white girls’ hair, and this leads to discrimination against them. It is worth noting that the prejudices are handed down by the environment and society that people are brought up in. Arnetta, remembers a mall experience when she and her mother were being seen as if they were from China. They were being discriminated because of their race. The various treatments given to black people has played a vital role in intensifying the issue of prejudice, magnifying people’s sense of inferiority, and shaping the views of the black people on the white people. Arnetta says; “Even though I didn’t fight to fight, was afraid of fight, I felt I was part of the rest of the troop; like I was defending something” (Packer, 12). This is a clear indication that society has the power to influence youths. It depicts how society joins hands to fight for what they think is their right. Owed to the fact that this is a society. Everything and everyone is interlinked in a given way, making racism and prejudice hard to do away
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Personal characteristics, appearance, or natural physical function seem to be the manner in which the black girls view most of the other characters in the story. From Mrs. Margolin, the troop leader, to other characters in the story, the description includes outer personal characteristics or appearance rather than inner qualities to be admired. The description of the camp counselor is an example. “Mrs. Margolin even looks like a mother duck--she had hair cropped to a small ball of a head, almost no neck, and huge, miraculous breast” (357). The description of her attire is equally non-complementary as references to Mrs. Margolin as “Big Fat Mamma. The historical south, as the narrator describes shows white individuals in their segregated locations and blacks in theirs, with only chance meetings as both races conducted daily routines such as shopping or moving about through the streets. Therefore, having the white Brownie troop being a part of the camping trip is like being invaders as Arnetta describes--“with their long, shampoo-commercial hair, straight as Spaghetti from the box” (358). Thus, hair as well as complexion added fuel to the flame of envy and hatred, which is alive in Arnetta’s mind. A physical function such as a sneeze, which causes mucus to drip from her nose caused the narrator to wear the name “Snot” since first
As racism continues on to thrive in the town, Esther Hirsh, becomes a young girl who also faces discrimination only because she was a Jewish. In the same school as Esther, was a young African-American girl named Leonora who faces bully about almost every day, and everywhere, just because of her race. Her family is very well in poverty, and her mother is badly sick. She died later that month. In one quote,”Why can’t white folks leave me alone?”(P7), explains how excruciating racism was.
In the next few chapters she discusses how they were brought up to fear white people. The children in her family were always told that black people who resembled white people would live better in the world. Through her childhood she would learn that some of the benefits or being light in skin would be given to her.
Janie’s first discovery about herself comes when she is a child. She is around the age of six when she realizes that she is colored. Janie’s confusion about her race is based on the reasoning that all her peers and the kids she grows up with are white. Janie and her Nanny live in the backyard of the white people that her Nanny works for. When Janie does not recognize herself on the picture that is taken by a photographer, the others find it funny and laughs, leaving Janie feeling humiliated. This racial discovery is not “social prejudice or personal meanness but affection” (Cooke 140). Janie is often teased at school because she lives with the white people and dresses better than the other colored kids. Even though the kids that tease her were all colored, this begins Janie’s experience to racial discrimination.
The concept of whiteness being the ideal standard for physical appearances is ingrained into every girl’s brain through dolls given during early childhood due their parents’ preconceived notions that they desire the same things they did (Morrison 20).
"Brownies," by ZZ Packer, is a story about a Brownie troop of African American fourth-grade girls from Atlanta, Georgia, who go to Camp Crescendo. At the camp, they encounter a troop of white girls, Troop 909, and believe that one of the white girls used a racially offensive comment when she spoke of them. The African American girls decide they need to get revenge on Troop 909 and resolve to beat them up in a bathroom. Before they started beating Troop 909, the African American girls realized that Troop 909 is a troop with mentally challenged, and handicapped girls. Later, the African American girls discovered that Troop 909 was falsely accused of making the racially offensive comment. The climax of the story is when Arnette,
The Civil Rights Movement marked a crucial moment in United States history. African Americans fought for their right to be treated equally and to put an end to discrimination and segregation. Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” features two girls of the opposite race and how their friendship was affected during this time period. The United States has come a long way since the days of slavery, but African Americans’ rights were still not being fully recognized. As a result of this the Civil Rights Movement developed to peacefully protest for equality. Toni Morrison’s short story, “Recitatif”, takes place during the Civil Rights era of the United States to show the reader how stereotyping, discrimination, and segregation affected two girls,
Assata’s childhood was filled with contradictions. Despite affirming that her family instilled in her “a sense of personal dignity” (Assata 19), she notes that, for them, “pride and dignity were hooked up to things like position and money” (20). In this way, her “awareness of class differences in the Black community came at an early age” (20-21). Her grandparents associated being good enough with having the same things white people had. Although she was raised to believe she was good enough, this was not the message that the environment constantly communicated to her. She attended segregated schools and grew up amidst an unconscious rhetoric of self-hatred fostered by beauty stereotypes that included skin bleaching, hair straightening, and the rejection of numerous body parts: thick lips, wide nose, kinky hair. All of these distorted beauty expectations disrupted her identity as a black girl. If she was expected to behave as whites did, why didn’t she have the same things as they? she wondered. This caused a great amount of resentment toward her mother, for example, for not having “freshly baked cookies” (37) upon her arrival from school —like white kids in commercials did—, and resentment towards having to do chores, which white kids did not have to do. The anger continues to build up and appears to reach its childhood peak when she tells the story of a white boy she attacked in the sixth grade because he accused her of stealing his pen. Assata states: “I was usually very quiet and well behaved. [The professors] acted like i had jumped on that boy for nothing, and they couldn’t understand why i was so angry. As a matter of fact, even i didn’t understand. Then” (42). This episode exemplifies the outbursts of rage that daily encounters with racism can lead to. Her incapacity to articulate the reasons for the anger show her inability to assimilate the condition of
In ZZ Packer’s short story titled “Brownies,” Laurel, also known as Snot, tells the story about her African-American Brownie troop attempting to fight a Caucasian Brownie troop, Troop 909. Arnetta, a fellow Brownie in Snot’s troop, overhears one of the girls from Troop 909 call another member a racial slur and plans to get revenge on all the girls. Snot, being a shy person, keeps quiet through the entire process of her troop planning their attack on Troop 909. Snot is a flat character; moreover, her characterization supports the theme of ignorance prevailing due to silence.
In “Flight Patterns”, Alexie shows that many people can be ignorant in getting to know someone just because of a preconceived idea based on someone’s skin color. People look past all a person has overcome and dealt with in life just because of the color of their skin. Stevens also aids this idea by saying that the media helps people see race distinctly because of leading roles in movies being often white characters and how even history stories focus on the white race. Both stories bring these issues to light and want readers to understand that there is still a problem with race relations and that media and preconceived ideas play a major part in blurring history and allowing us to forget that skin color is not the only thing that defines a
In the story, this group of brownies came from the south suburbs of Atlanta where whites are “…real and existing, but rarely seen...” (p.518). Hence, this group’s impression of whites consisted of what they have seen on TV or shopping malls. As a result, the girls have a narrow view that all whites were wealthy snobs with superiority like “Superman” and people that “shampoo-commercial hair” (p.518). In their eyes “This alone was the reason for envy and hatred” (p 518). So when Arnetta felt “…foreign… (p.529), as a white woman stared at her in a shopping mall you sense where the revenge came from.
In the short story “Brownies,” author ZZ Packer uses the narrator, Laurel, to explore the tensions that exist between belonging to a community and maintaining individuality. While away at camp with her brownie troop, she finds herself torn between achieving group inclusion and sustaining her own individualism. Although the events of the short story occur at Camp Crescendo, Packer is able to expand (and parallel) this struggle for identity beyond the camp’s walls and into the racially segregated society that both the girls and their families come from. Packer is exploring how an individual’s inherent need for group inclusion consequently fuels segregation and prejudice against those outside the group across various social and societal stratums.
Murphy expresses how justifying bad deeds for good is cruel by first stirring the reader’s emotions on the topic of bullying with pathos. In “White Lies,” Murphy shares a childhood memory that takes the readers into a pitiful classroom setting with Arpi, a Lebanese girl, and the arrival of Connie, the new girl. Murphy describes how Arpi was teased about how she spoke and her name “a Lebanese girl who pronounced ask as ax...had a name that sounded too close to Alpo, a brand of dog food...” (382). For Connie, being albino made her different and alone from everyone else around her “Connie was albino, exceptionally white even by the ultra-Caucasian standards... Connie by comparison, was alone in her difference” (382). Murphy tries to get the readers to relate and pity the girls, who were bullied for being different. The author also stirs the readers to dislike the bullies and their fifth grade teacher. Murphy shares a few of the hurtful comments Connie faced such as “Casper, chalk face, Q-Tip... What’d ya do take a bath in bleach? Who’s your boyfriend-Frosty the Snowman?” (382). Reading the cruel words can immediately help one to remember a personal memory of a hurtful comment said to them and conclude a negative opinion of the bullies. The same goes for the fifth grade teac...
There were many acts of violence that took place during Moody’s childhood that helped prove to her that interracial relationships were unacceptable. For example, white people burned down the Taplin family home, killing everyone inside. Moody recalls being in shock and everyone in the car sitting still in dead silence, “We sat in the car for about an hour, silently looking at this debris and the ashes that covered the nine charcoal-burned bodies . . . I shall never forget the expressions on the faces of the Negroes. There was almost unanimous hopelessness in them.” It wasn’t until highschool when she came to her first realization about the racial problems and violence that have been plaguing her when a fourteen-year-old African American boy is murdered for having whistled at a white woman. Before this, Moody was under the impression that “Evil Spirits” were to blame for the mysterious deaths of African Americans, “Up ...
Unlike hooks and Frankenberg who give detailed views on the idea of whiteness that consistently criticize it as a way of thinking that influences our lives, instead McIntosh gives the readers a perspective of whiteness from a privileged white woman. McIntosh 's admittance and understanding to her class and racial advantage allows her to be able to view the problems surrounding whiteness and by doing so, allows her to make the changes needed to make a difference. Even with the different class viewpoint, McIntosh acknowledges the idea that "whites are taught to think their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average.." (McIntosh 98) and that this way of thinking creates a situation where whites view non white individuals to be abnormal and under average. This prescribed way of thinking produces the idea that if a white individual volunteers or works to help others, this helpfulness is a way of assisting non-whites to be more like whites. This form of education that the people, who have access to education, receive can then be understood as being obviously problematic. The perspective of class is an important viewpoint from McIntosh because as a privileged white woman, she is provided with more access to education and varying resources than many people. Again, the subject of education is brought forward. This access to the different educational institutions that she has had and her acknowledgement to her uneducated ideas on race show how the educational system had failed her. "As a white feminist, I knew that I had not previously known I was 'being racist ' and that I had never set out to 'be racist '" ( Frankenberg 3). Although Frankenberg had begun with the goal of working for the rights of feminism, her lack of knowledge on race, hindered her from understanding more aspects of