view the responses, I have learned twonlessons: (1) federal bureaucrats do notnreally consider these comments to ben”public,” and (2) bureaucracies havenno more scruples about manipulatingnpublic comments to their own advantagenthan they do about falsifying testnresults.nThe DOL’s Employment Servicenwaited six weeks to reply to my Marchn8, 1991, Freedom of Information Actnrequest for the public comments (evennthough federal law requires a responsenwithin ten days). U.S. EmploymentnService Director Robert A. Schaerflnthen refused to comply with my requestnbecause, he said, a “pre-decisional”nrelease “would be detrimental tonour decision-making process.” He citedna section of federal law “intendednessentially to protect the full and franknexchange, in writing, of ideas, views,nand opinions necessary for the effectivenfunctioning of the government and thenmaking of informed decisions by itsnofficers.” In other words, those publicncomments are the property of yournincredibly efficient government, sonbeat it.nAfter the Times-Dispatch twice appealednthe FOIA rejection, Schaerflnrelented on June 18 (“pre-decisional”nhaving taken on the look of a permanentncondition by then). But now therenwas a catch: the DOL wanted $465 forncopies of these precious documents.nThat is not a chunk of money that annewspaper gladly parts with during annadvertising crunch, as the recessionproofnbureaucracy surely understands.nMy newspaper filed yet another appeal,nwhich cited explicit provisions innthe FOIA for waiving or reducing suchnfees when disclosure would contributento public understanding of governmentnactivities. Schaerfl’s response was anbeauty: “Because this system has beennpublicized extensively by the news medianincluding your newspaper” there isnnothing more to be learned. So, again,nbeat it, pest. Finally, my bosses, blessn’em, forked over the money, and an2 5-pound box of public documentsnarrived at my office seven months afternthe information had been requested.nSchaerfl was wrong. The 1,700 responsesnfrom business, labor organizations,nand other parties teach volumesnabout how government operates. Thenfirst point that becomes obvious from an. reading of the record is that the “publicncomments” are hardly vox populi.nAnxious to preserve their seam, jobnservices in several states produced lettersnopposing the suspension of racenormingnthat corporate personnel (orn”human resource”) officers had onlynto sign. One union apprenticeship programnin Rochester, New York, crankednout 83 identical letters on its own. Twondozen Oklahoma businesses separatelynsigned a letter making this manglednstatement: “The decision to suspendnits use will adversely impact any employer’snability to hire the best employeesnthey can.” Hundreds of lettersnwere the obvious product of internalncampaigns to make the testing scamnseem indispensable, and yet they allncounted in the DOL’s tabulations ofn”public comment.”nThere were a few dissenting voices.n• For example, the Anti-DefamationnLeague of B’nai B’rith wrote: “Segregatingnthe GATB test scores merelynextends racial and ethnic divisionsnwithout targeting or remedying thensource of the discrimination, and withoutnproviding any meaningful or longtermnassistance to minority applicants.”nAnd Evan J. Kemp Jr., ClarencenThomas’ successor at the EEOC,nchecked in with strong criticism ofnrace-norming. Such responses werenburied, however, in an avalanche ofnsolicited letters. “Apparently the guysnand gals at the Job Service would likento save their paper-shuffling jobs,” anmanager of a small North Dakotanbusiness commented sardonically.nNot many corporate officials werenbrave enough to sass the federal establishment.nIndeed, the response to racenormingnsays something about howngovernment is corrupting the soul ofncorporate America and diluting itsncommitment to merit hiring and qualitynof product. The DOL did not givenits clients the option of continuing thenGATB (a test that is considered a rathernreliable predictor of job success) andnscoring all test takers the same way.nThe choice was between no testing orna race-normed test.nTo be sure, the quotacrats havenmade it exceedingly difficult for majornemployers to resist race-norming. ThenSupreme Court’s 1971 Criggs decisionnturned up the heat on businessesnby buying into the civil rights lobby’snargument that it is only necessary tonshow that a practice has “adverse im­nnnpact” on minorities, even absent anyndiscriminatory intent, to make a primanfacie case of employment discrimination.nThe 1989 Wards Cove decisionnrestored to employees some discretionnto use merit-based hiring practices andnshifted to plaintiffs the burden of provingndiscrimination had actually occurred.nBut that is one of the ReagannCourt decisions congressional liberalsnsought to reverse with a new civil rightsnbill.nThen there is all that the bureaucratsnhave done to kill merit hiring.nDuring the Nixon administration, thenOffice of Federal Contract Compliancenannounced that employee selectionnprocedure must result in proportionalnrepresentation for all protectednminority groups; if not, a company hadnto validate each test it used. Since thatncan cost anywhere from fifty to twonhundred thousand dollars or more perntest without providing any warrantynagainst costiy discrimination litigation,nmany companies, “not wishing to losenthe strong economic advantages ofntesting, found the sure bet of racenormingnthe more practical alternative,”nEliot Long, vice-president ofnWonderlic Personnel Test, Inc., hasnnoted. Wonderlic offers businesses anLIBERAL ARTSnTHE EUROPEANnAMERICANS CLUBnStudents at Anaheim High School innCalifornia organized a European AmericansnClub last fall because of what theynsaw as “a need for a forum to learn aboutnEuropean cultures.” It is reportedly thenfirst such club of its kind, and the club isnnow listed among other ethnic organizationsnincluding the Asian Club, thenBlack Student Union, and a club fornSouthwest American Chicanes. Accordingnto Jay Mathews of the WashingtonnPost, some critics have called the organizationna “Whites Only Club” and anmanifestation of white supremacism,nwhen in fact half of the club’s participantsnare of non-European descent.nWilliam Simmons, an anthropologist atnthe University of California-Berkeley,nattributes the desire for such a forum atnthe predominantly Hispanic highnschool to a heightened sense of ethnicnidentity and the perception of minoritynstatus among non-Hispanic whites.nFEBRUARY 1992/45n