Racial Segregation and Prejudice in Brownies

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“Brownies” is a short story written by author, ZZ Packer, which takes place at Camp Crescendo, a summer camp near the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. The story surrounds a group of African American Brownie girls, in the fourth grade, who journey to this campsite for a camping experience. On the trip, they encounter another brownie group comprised of white girls, all of who are mentally handicapped. “Brownies” is told from a first person involved point of view, through a fellow Brownie member from the African American troop, named Laurel. Because the story takes place in the 1960’s, ZZ Packer explores issues that are prevalent in that time period, such as racial segregation, prejudice and ignorance.
Racism is defined as the “systematic
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The Anti-Defamation League wrote in an article, “Blacks and others are seen by racists as merely subhuman, more like beasts than men.” The prejudice dilemma is exasperated by the distinctive treatment black people receive from the world, hence shaping young black people’s views on whites and intensifying their own sense of inferiority. Racial discrimination is still a cause of suffering endured by many, Packer shows how we all, as human beings, are in fact somehow in our own way deprived and unfortunate. The ironic twist of the plot, where a group of black girl encountering another group of white girls who happened to be mentally-challenged, puts on table the unfairness and injustice experienced by the world. The irony lies in that the blacks are now portrayed as superior than whites here because of their mentally challenged conditions.
Hatred is the major underlying cause for continued racism and prejudice, which leads to violence and retaliation. “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.” This statement makes clear the power society has upon influencing the younger generations, showing how a community comes together to fight for a cause that they think just. Because it is a society, everything is connected in one way or another, causing prejudice and racism to be impossible to eliminate. “It was the only time he’d have a white man on his knees doing something
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