The protagonist and narrator of ZZ Packer's short story "Brownies" is Laurel, otherwise known as "Snot," an African American girl attending a summer camp for fourth graders in Atlanta called Camp Crescendo.
Laurel is mostly quiet, observant, and disliked by the other girls for her thoughtfulness and common sense. Unlike the rest of her troop, Laurel questions the dynamic between the black girls and white girls of Troop 909. After Arnetta claims that she heard the white girls call Daphne a racial slur, only Laurel ponders whether this event actually happened and if starting a fight with the alleged offenders is a good idea. Laurel manages to mostly evade the pressures of the group's thinking until Arnetta forces her to join in; her agreement to do so seems to reflect her desire to belong and to defend what is valuable to her.
At the conclusion of the story, it is Laurel who connects the story about her father's encounter with a Mennonite family to what transpired at camp, with her realizing that "there was something mean in the world that [she] could not stop." It is evident that Laurel is awakening to the suffering created by racial injustice.