Elite for a Reason

The country relies almost shamelessly upon its Ivy League institutions. Observe top government appointments and captains of industry. Practically across the board one will note the prestigious degrees that are the leper’s bells of an approaching elite. And because these institutions hold such grave responsibility for cultivating our leadership cadre, it is incumbent that they uphold the strictest matriculation standards.

Obviously a simple prole such as this writer does not bear a Harvard level IQ. Frankly, it was quite a bit at variance from that lofty standard–though in which direction is unimportant to say. The point is that wearers of The Crimson are very astute indeed.

And because they are the cognitive elite, it is all the more galling that not even they could pass the 1964 Louisiana Literacy test that vexed that state’s fifth grade graduates. The story may be found here.

A group of Harvard students were recently asked by their tutor to sit the 1964 Louisiana Literacy Test – a notorious document with confusing questions that was used to stop black citizens from voting.

Just 50 years ago, states in the South asked voters who couldn’t provide proof of a fifth grade education to pass the test in order to be eligible to cast a ballot.
The test was intended to disenfranchise African-Americans, who in order to pass had to correctly answer all 30 questions in 10 minutes.

Despite their Ivy League pedigree, none of the students managed to pass the test and their reactions as they struggled to make sense of the obtuse questions was filmed.

Below are the labyrinthine queries that so tortured our greatest intellects.



So how would we categorize the performance of our Harvard undergrads? Here’s the answer in test form.

The first letter is also the first letter of the state with the most Haitian immigrants.

The second letter is the state where Jesse Jackson jr. is presently incarcerated.

The third letter is the state where a former “defense minister” of the black panthers serves as a sitting US congressional representative.

The fourth and last letter is the state formerly represented by convicted felon William “cold cash” Jefferson.

Don’t attempt this outside the Ivy League.


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