The characters in the story include the troop leaders Mrs. Hedy and Mrs. Margolin and the Brownies Laurel, Arnetta, Daphne, Janice, Elise, and Drema.
Laurel is the narrator and seemingly the most sensible girl in the troop. She hates the idea of confronting the white girls and tries to get out of it by staying behind with Daphne. However, Laurel also points out the best place to confront the girls is in the bathroom because this is the only place their teacher won't accompany them to. As they approach the bathroom, Laurel starts to get cold feet. She says it is possible that the teacher could have accompanied the girls.
Laurel is also called "Snot" because in first grade she once sneezed in class, and long mucus went all over a nearby girl.
Anetta, a Brownie, is the leader of the group. She always makes a point of listening to Mrs. Margolin's religious ramblings in order to manipulate her when she wants to get away with her bad behavior.
Mrs. Margolin is a highly religious troop leader who the author says had "hair cropped close to a small ball of a head, almost no neck, and huge, miraculous breasts."
Octavia, a Brownie, has long hair, "hung past her butt," that causes the other girls to listen to everything she says.
Daphne, a Brownie, is a quiet girl who claims Troop 909 called her a "nigger."
Janice, a Brownie, has a country accent. She comes up with a plan to sneak on the white girls while they are sleeping.
The main characters of "Brownies" are the African American girls who attend a summer camp at Camp Crescendo: Laurel (the narrator, called Snot by her peers), Daphne (the only girl to call the protagonist by her real name), Arnetta (the unofficial leader), Octavia (another leader), Janice, Elise, and Drema; Mrs. Margolin and Mrs. Hedy (Octavia's mother), the troop leaders, are also significant characters. The Caucasian girls belonging to the other troop of Brownies are also important.
Laurel, the narrator, has been called Snot
ever since first grade, when [she'd] sneezed in class and two long ropes of mucus had splattered a nearby girl.
We learn this just after Arnetta calls Laurel "Snot" for the first time in the story, asking if Snot is "going to be a bitch and tell Mrs. Margolin" about the girls' plan to ambush the white girls in the bathroom. Laurel's main contribution to the discussions of how to handle the white girls is that
They won't ever be alone [...]. The only time they'll be unsupervised is in the bathroom.
She says that she rarely speaks a word to her fellow troop members because, as soon as she does, someone calls her Snot. She believes that her peers
think that we could beat up these girls; no one entertained the thought that they might fight back.
Laurel admits, to us, that she is afraid of the dark, too, in addition to being concerned that the white girls will fight back and that things won't go as planned.
The major characters in the story are Arnetta, Octavia, Laurel (the narrator), Drema, Elise, Janice, and Daphne, members of an African American Brownie troop. These girls figure prominently in the story.
Snot's real name is Laurel. The text tells us that Laurel has been called Snot ever since first grade. She earned the embarrassing nickname unintentionally. Accordingly, after an especially violent sneeze, Laurel had splattered a nearby girl with mucus. In the story, it is Arnetta who first addresses Laurel as Snot. After suggesting that their Brownie troop beat up the white members of Troop 909, Arnetta warns Laurel (Snot) against telling Mrs. Margolin (one of the troop leaders) about the plan.
Initially, Snot does not approve of Arnetta's plan. When Arnetta suggests that their troop must catch the white girls alone, Snot argues that it will be difficult to do this. She maintains that the white girls will only be unsupervised during bathroom breaks.
We can see that Snot is reluctant to participate in Arnetta's plan to beat up the white girls. She tells Arnetta that she prefers to stay behind. However, Arnetta's answer is an unfeeling "No, Snot. If we get in trouble, you're going to get in trouble with the rest of us." At every step of the way, however, Snot tries to get her fellow troop members to pull back from their foolhardy mission. Despite her efforts, however, the plan moves forward. In Snot's mind, none of her fellow Brownies have considered the possibility of the white girls fighting back.
So, Snot is reluctant to accompany her peers to meet Troop 909 for a few reasons. First, the textual evidence indicates that she is not convinced any of the white girls used a racial epithet to address Daphne. Second, Snot does not think that beating up the white girls will accomplish much of anything. She thinks that it may even get their whole troop in trouble. Third, Snot feels uncomfortable at the idea of fighting, even though she believes that she should remain loyal to her troop.
So, as a first-person narrator, Snot provides us an intimate view of how racism is processed from a young adult perspective.