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Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

A Louisiana Literacy Test For Black Voters, Circa 1960

You have 10 minutes, and if you got one answer wrong, then sorry, you can't vote today.

Granted, the above test is not explicitly racist. But even the worst apologist can't deny the inherent classism of it. Technically speaking, this test was only administered to voters who couldn't prove a certain level of education. Which is kind of arbitrary, no? That's not like carding someone to buy alcohol. There's no visual indicator of someone's education, is there?

Well, sure, if we consider that education is a privilege, not a right, one that is much more easily accessible to people of a certain class. And in Louisiana in the 1960s, most of those people "of a certain class" were of a certain pigment as well...

(and hey, don't get me wrong: there a lot of dumb people in this country, and that they have a voice in our so-called democracy could be seen as an impediment on progress. But as appealing as it sounds to oppress those faces, suddenly your progressivism borders eerily on fascism...)