Take The Impossible "Literacy" Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters In The 1960s

Submitted by: daegog 1 month ago in News & Politics

This is the Literacy Test the state of Louisiana gave to all black voters in the '60s. If they couldn't pass it, they couldn't vote. WTF is #5 even asking? Can you draw a line AROUND anything? Lines have to be straight.





There are 48 comments:
Male 40,772
I passed, even though question 6 is really poorly written. One inside the otherS plural since there's 3 total, one circle would have to have 2 others inside it, and one would have to others outside it, eh?

VV Scroll Down to Memo's links to the NEXT TWO PAGES of the test! All that in 10 minutes? Holy Cow!
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Male 1,317
I think this is an acceptable test, so long as EVERYONE passes it in order to vote.  And also that all voting officials pass it in order to remain voting officials.  And politicians pass it in order to run for and hold office.

If everyone who voted, ran for office and held office in the last presidential election passed this test, we wouldn’t be is shape we are in today.
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Female 407
I know someone--I should probably say that I know of them--who supports Everton football club. Everton play in blue. Their biggest rivals are Liverpool football club, who play in red. This person is a big Labour supporter. Labour's colour is red. This person, however, absolutely refuses to vote for Labour, because red is Liverpool's colour, and at every election, she votes for (blue) Conservative, even though she disagrees with all their policies, because they share the same colour with her football team.

I think an intelligence test to give you a license to vote is a great idea*. Certain people are already prevented from voting in the UK (the insane and criminals for instance, although apparently it's a contravention of criminals' human rights to prevent them). Why not stupid people as well?

Imagine being on trial in a highly technical fraud trial with a jury with a combined IQ in double figures. They wouldn't understand the trial or the complex and nuanced evidence and would therefore be unable to deliver a safe verdict. The idea is ridiculous.

Similarly, imagine a country where a statistically significant number of voters were unable to understand the complex and nuanced economic, sociological and political implications of their vote, where voters were swayed by the loudest and most brazen lies because they didn't have the intelligence to see through them, or voters cast their vote depending on the colour of their favourite sports team. What happens then? Brexit happens then. Trump happens.

Democracy is a stupid idea.





*The one in this thread was a transparent attempt to prevent voting on racial grounds, so I'm talking here about a genuine unbiased test for all voters.
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Male 2,150
The Bar exam in Alabama.
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Female 1,605
Those assholes
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Male 2
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Male 40,772
memo128 Oooo! Now THAT is nasty! 10 questions was easy enough, but 20 more in 10 minutes is beyond brutal.
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Male 216
wtf is with the draw a line AROUND something. This is geometrically impossible. 
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Male 40,772
prichards114 Like when you walk 'around' the telephone pole? You alter course to pass by it then continue your original path after. You don't circle it entirely eh?

But yeah, cryptic questions! No doubt.
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Female 1,605
prichards114 Thank you

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Male 4,953
Not sure how much trolling is going on in this thread, but a couple IAB'ers seem to be missing the fact that several of these questions are ambiguous or designed to trap the testee.

6. In the space below, draw three circles, one inside (engulfed by) the other.
Ambiguous. This could mean all three circles should be drawn concentrically (like a bullseye) OR that one circle should be concentric to one other circle with a third off to the side.

7. Above the letter X make a small cross.
Ambiguous. A cross is simply two short intersecting lines and since you are instructed to make the cross above the letter X, the natural impulse would be to make an X similar to the letter, which could be correct; OR the tester could insist that "small cross" means an upright line with a shorter transverse line as used in the Christian symbol.

9. Draw a line through the two letters below that come last in the alphabet.
Ambiguous. The correct response could be to draw two short horizontal lines, one through the letter 'Y' and one through the letter 'Z'; OR, because the instructions state draw "a line" (singular), the correct response could be to draw one horizontal line that starts by passing through the letter 'Y' and then continues to the right until it's passed through the letter 'Z.'

10. In the first circle below write the last letter of the first word beginning with "L."
Ambiguous. The correct answer could be a 'T' drawn within Circle 1 since 't' is the last letter of the first word beginning with L in the instructions (last); OR the correct answer could be an 'A' drawn within Circle 1 since "la" is the first word beginning with the letter 'L' in the dictionary.

11. Cross out the number necessary, when making the number below one million.
A trap. The temptation to add commas to the number to determine how many zeroes need to be crossed out is great. But if you do, you fail. The instructions state that you are to do "nothing more, nothing less" than what you are instructed to do.

I guarantee that I could score this test so that every IAB'er, regardless of education level, would fail.
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Male 3,213
squrlz4ever 
One can argue or hypothesize what the correct answers may or may not be, the whole concept is - as you point out - deceptive and shameful.
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Male 3,497
squrlz4ever my answer to number 11 was to cross out the one, of course it would probably fail too, but it was just my initial thought.
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Male 4,953
daegog That question is surprisingly difficult. My first answer was to cross out the last zero, for two reasons. First, I had it in my head that a million has 9 zeroes. Second, the number on the form has 10 zeroes and the instructions said to cross out the number (singular), which seemed to confirm my impulse. Then I started to doubt myself and if I'd been taking the test on paper, I'm certain I would've written in commas to check, which would have been an automatic fail.
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Male 7,943
squrlz4ever I guarantee that I could score this test so that every IAB'er, regardless of education level, would fail.

That was pretty much the point of these tests.  Completely arbitrary. 
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Male 4,953
normalfreak2 Agreed; that statement was more for the benefit of those thinking "I could pass this!" than for people with a knowledge of the history behind these tests.
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Male 276
Weak bait. 1/5
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Male 1,511
The wording is confusing, but all of the questions are possible to answer.

Perhaps we should have tests asking questions about how the government (is supposed to) works and about the constitution for everyone to be able to vote. (we have to pass a written exam to drive, so why not?)
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Male 3,497
squidbush Answers to the test are easy.  Answers that can not an any reasonable way be called incorrect are impossible.  No human alive can pass this test if the person administering the test wants them to fail.

Just look at the last question (number 30) you can interpret that in several different ways ensuring that anyone you want fails.

You can even interpret it differently for different people, because why not?
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Male 7,834
If we gave this test to everyone today, I wonder if Trump would have still won?

B'dum tsh!
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Male 39,958
cobrakiller Did Trump win ?
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Male 8,560
Gerry1of1 Yes. Deal with that fact.
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Male 7,834
Gerry1of1 that depends on what his endgame actually was. 

However, he is our president.  Albeit, possibly with a little outside help. 
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Male 39,958
Is the test wrong, or did we dumb down the requirements to vote ? Like easing the requirements to be a fireman so women could do it, or lowering the bar to let people into college who would not usually qualify.

Discuss among yourselves.

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Female 4,441
Gerry1of1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terran_Federation_(Starship_Troopers) 
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Male 39,958
melcervini Great gook. One of my favorites. The movie sucked though
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Male 39,958
Gerry1of1 BOOK not gook..... oops
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Female 4,441
Gerry1of1 I just found the game at a gaming store with all the pieces still on their sprues & 100% there! ! yay!
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Female 4,441
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Male 39,958
melcervini Learn how LINKS work. The link I think you thought would be totally cool didn't freakin work. 
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Female 4,441
Gerry1of1 my apologies... this is one of those IMB posts that wont let me do anything but C&P which makes the linky thing out of reach 
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Male 7,834
Gerry1of1 everyone deserves a vote according to our republic. 

I wouldn't mind living in a captiocracy.  A republic where you must be informed to vote, and of a certain intellectual capacity. 

But I think most people in this country would fail the necessary requirements. 
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Male 39,958
cobrakiller Donald Trump is running the country. Doesn't that tell you something about our system?

I 'd just as soon Make America Great Britain again.  Rather have the Queen than the Donald
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Female 8,061
Totally cuntish behaviour. 
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Male 39,958
 But if someone could not solve these simple questions ..... should they be allowed to vote?
I'm not saying they should or shouldn't .... I'm opening up the discussion.
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Male 40,772
Gerry1of1 The issue is (or was) that ONLY Blacks were shown that test, whites got a free pass.
How about potential candidates take written tests, live on TV, to prove they aren't insufferable morons or mentally retarded (like RFK Jr is!) before they're even allowed to run? :-)
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Male 860
yes, you can draw a line around things.  It's a curved line.  Remember, this is intended to test for grade 5 learning skills (understanding of over, under, first, alphabet knowledge, and basic numeracy).  The rigid definition of a line being a subset of curves doesn't come about until high school
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Male 40,772
punko This is absolutely correct. People are judging this by 2017 literacy & education standards, which is a fallacy. Back then a kid in grade 5 could answer all these questions... unless he was flunking I suppose, lolz!

A line is a line, unless there is a modifier added: straight line, curved line, crooked line... all of those are acceptable 'lines' for the purposes of this test. Afaik of course!

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Male 4,953
punko This test was absolutely not intended to test for Grade 5 learning skills. I'm with Daegog here: I can't tell if you're trolling or not.
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Male 3,497
punko Not sure if you are trolling or not.
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Male 860
daegog 2nd line of the form indicates that this test is to be administered to anyone who can't prove 5th grade education.
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Male 860
punko Also, the test appears to be written with proper intent.  The  biased interpretation of results would imply abuse of the test for other purposes.  I can't speak to how the test was implemented, but I'm just going by what was shown.
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Male 6,077
#5 is asking you to circle the first of the two letter a's in the line.
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Male 40,772
broizfam Yes, that is how I read it also. All the questions are understandable, but far from clearly worded... designed to make people fail.

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Male 39,958
Yeah! Gold star for me I got 100%
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Male 3,497
Gerry1of1 please show a picture of your answer to number 30.
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Male 860
daegog a word is missing from the question.  Its not grammatically complete.
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Male 1,739
Gerry1of1 Only if you are white. If you were black in the 60's, their word play for each question would go against you every time.....like daegog said...you can't draw a line around something.
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