Conformity Essay

1243 WordsApr 17, 20145 Pages
Laurel, the narrator of ZZ Packer’s short story “Brownies”, experiences different complexities of relations between whites and blacks during her fourth grade Brownie Troop’s camping trip at Camp Crescendo. Through the idea of groupthink, Packer reaches the revelation of dehumanizing and the perpetuation of marginalization of all racial groups. Gaining acceptance and belonging expresses the true meaning behind groupthink or tribalism; however, conforming to these groups leads to losing one’s own individualism and compromising their personal beliefs. One tends to follow this trend also due to one’s fears of challenging the social norm. In the Brownies situation it is their deep rooted southern traditions; however, this teaching of protect your own no matter the cost, is prevalent in many cultures. In “Brownies” Packer exemplifies the theory of an out-group within the in-group. This declares that the marginalizing of ethnicities and the nature of competition to reach alpha or hierarchy are required to reach social stability. ZZ Packer stereotypes Arnetta as a strong leader that everyone is in fear of confronting or showing their own individualism, which Arnetta uses to control the other Brownies into executing devious acts. “Usually people were quiet after Arnetta spoke. Her tone had an upholstered confidence that was somehow both regal and vulgar at once” (Packer 8). Arnetta’s hostile attitude towards Troop 909 is a defensive mechanism that she uses to cover her true feelings. For example, Leaders always have the ability to take over situations but they also can overwhelm other members. Leaders or bullies think for everyone within the group and the rest follow what they are told. Crips and Bloods, two of the main rivalry gangs in the United States bring the generalization of groupthink to a visual reality. Members of these street gangs usually join to find a

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