Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Jim Crow Laws

The Jim Crow laws were obviously an awful exhibition of the deliberate racism that is so prevalent in the history of our country. However, from previous classes in school and history textbooks, I know all about this. When I read the Jim Crow laws this time, I my reactions were different than I thought they would be.

The first thing I thought when I started reading was that I had no idea who Jim Crow actually was. So I decided to do a little research. (NERD.  I know :) )

I found out that the name Jim Crow was a character that was played by a white actor named Thomas "Daddy" Rice. He played an extremely stereotypical black man by the name of Jim Crow. He wore dark makeup on his face to portray to the audience that his character was black.
"Jim Crow" is a fitting name for these laws. The name of these laws, just the name alone, seems just as racist to me as the laws themselves. 

I also was surprised that other races were represented in the Jim Crow laws besides African-Americans. There were laws in the list pertaining to Malay, Mongolian, and Hindu races. African-Americans are the only race that is usually talked about when the Jim Crow laws are brought up; it surprises me that these races are left out of our lessons in school.

"What if the Jim Crow laws were still in place today?"
This is the last question I asked myself while I was reading. Reading these laws from the perspective of a 21st-century teenager, I believe that they are quite extreme. What would extreme laws such as the Jim Crow laws discriminate against in today's society, and who would they discriminate against?

"No one whose favorite color is green will be allowed to send a text message to someone who has any other favorite color."

"Those who enjoy Starbucks coffee more than Caribou coffee have to park on the other side of the parking lot from those who enjoy Caribou more than Starbucks."

"People with red hair aren't allowed to buy Coke products."

These are obviously examples of laws that would never be enacted today, but it shows how extreme the Jim Crow laws actually were. Americans deliberately discriminated against others because of their skin color, something as trivial as a favorite color or a favorite coffee shop. It's amazing that people such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks had the courage and the strength to rise up and try to reverse these laws. 

P.S. I have nothing against people with red hair, I promise! :) 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

William Kennedy: The Banjo Man

What an interesting choice for a subject and title of a short story. 
My first thought when I read this was that William Kennedy must be an absolute genius if he can successfully write a story about an inanimate, uninteresting household object such as eggs.


Nope. I have no ideas as of right now for a short story that could be written about the inanimate household objects listed above.
William Kennedy sounds like a genius to me.
However, I understand why his father might have been skeptical about the impending success, or failure, of his son's short story. It makes a world of sense. 

"Who the hell wants to read about a guy who goes in and eats eggs?"
"They publish stuff like this?" 
"Is this what you learned in school?"

Kennedy responds simply to his father's accusations. There was one response that Kennedy gave that caught my attention,

"The whole world eats eggs."

This shows Kennedy's attempt to relate to his audience. To show the world that even simple things can make connections between people; find common ground, give them something to discuss over lunch at work or coffee in the early morning.
William Kennedy's genius shines through once more.

Let's hypothetically say that Kennedy's short story did get published in Collier's Magazine. People would be buzzing about it when they read it; even if they didn't particularly enjoy it. They would talk to their friends, and their friends would relay the story to their own friends, and so on and so forth.
Hypothetically, one story that speaks of a topic so simple could restore lost friendships or forge new relationships. That is a monumental task, and it could be accomplished just by a few lines about a man eating his breakfast in a diner; something that most Americans have experienced at least once.
This story possesses immense power.

I tend to over-analyze events in my life. It is a trait that I possess that I despise. I wish that I could brush events away as quickly as they happened, especially the events in which I embarrass myself, and there are plenty of those. I think that this trait leaks into my academic life as well. When I am asked to analyze a topic for a class, I feel that I make deep connections that may not even be involved with the story, completely surpassing anything that seems plausible.
I feel that I may be doing that here.
William Kennedy is still amazing for writing a semi-successful story about eating eggs, though. He also took banjo lessons. That makes him even better sounding in my opinion :)

Friday, September 16, 2011


If I could start a war,
I'd want to be the calm before your storm.
~ The Summer Set 

Time for some new blogging that's happening up in here.
It's me, but in a NEW SETTING. *TAH DAH*

So come here now. 

Kara ♥

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why I Write

Let's talk about my writing experiences, shall we?
I've done A LOT of writing in my life. Haven't we all? We've all been in school and been forced to write papers and journals and all of that academic stuff. I remember in fifth grade when we had to write a story about our trip to Duluth. We had to write the entire thing in blue erasable pen and in cursive. That was definitely not a fun experience.
Sometimes I write because I'm forced to. I write because it's a requirement for a class, even if it's a prompt that I have no desire to respond to. I write because I want to get an A.
Other times, I write for myself. I write stories and poems because I need to get my feelings out on paper or on a computer screen. Even if the stories or poems are unfinished, which most of them are, it helps me to vent my emotions. I write stories about things that I wish were happening to me. Sometimes I live vicariously through my story's main characters. It's fun to write that way.
I also write to communicate things to people. If it's a simple text message or a note in class, a long, handwritten birthday card to a friend, or a scribbled message for my parents on a Post-It note that says that someone called our house when they were gone.
In short, there are many reasons why I write, when I do write. It's fun sometimes and definitely not fun other times. It's a way to be creative, show off your style and talents, and make your deepest emotions known to others.
PHEW. Done :)