What kind of arguement can I make of this story?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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ZZ Packer's short story "Brownies" is a contemporary tale of naivete, double standards, ignorance, and racism where a troop of 4th grade black Girl Scout girls from suburban Atlanta, believe to have been verbally offended by a troop of white girls who, supposedly, used racial slur against them. As a result the African American girls take revenge by plotting to beat up the other troop.

By our second day at Camp Crescendo, the girls in my Brownie troop had decided to kick the asses of each and every girl in Brownie troop 909.

However, as the story progresses, the plot pinpoints a few arguments, one of them presented by the narrator:

When you lived 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

  • the context within which the girls were raised seldom exposed them to white people. As a result, myths and urban legends would result in the stereotyping of whites. This leads to the girls using the word "caucasian" as an insult among each other. Doing this, however is reverse racism, and it has no excuse. How can the girls claim respect when they are not able to show it themselves?

it was the only time he’d have a white man on his knees doing something for a black man for free

  • here the narrator speaks of a time she remembers when a white woman, a Mennonite, did some work for her father. With awe, she realizes that Arnetta- the girl that was egging the others into hurting the white girls- was quite unfair the whole time as well as she has. Bad, abusive people come in all colors and ethnicity. Meanness, abuse, and evil does not prescribe.

From these two examples, the most important argument to make from "Brownies" is the issue of hypocrisy, and double standards. When it is convenient and "hip" people make fun of each other, laugh, abuse, and intimidate others. However, when it is their turn to become intimidated, laughed at, abused, or made fun of, they cannot take the heat and immediately claim bigotry, discrimination, or racism. "Brownies" clearly demonstrates that REVERSED racism has become an escape goat for the weak to feel stronger, and for the bully to find someone else to tease under the idea that they are protected by the color of their skin.

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