The Kardashian Klub on Kampus (On the Campus, Feb. 6)? Innocent fun, for sure, but here’s a little cautionary history for the members. The penchant for changing C to K in the names of businesses and other institutions arose as an homage to the KKK — the bad one — in the early decades of the 20th century. Kountry Kitchens and Kozy Korners mean no harm nowadays, but some of us, especially those raised in the South, remember when they still had a whiff of Jim Crow. I grew up in Winston-Salem, headquarters of that kardiac kickstarter Krispy Kreme, founded in 1937 in the Klan’s heyday.
None of this is any reason to tsk tsk the Kardashianistas at Princeton. They may, however, want to tamp down the fetish for K concatenations, especially at a time when blackface minstrel party get-ups, an ugly tradition we thought we had shed long ago, are sadly back in the news.