"The case, Washington v. Davis, involved the constitutionality of Test 21, developed by the federal government and used by the District of Columbia police force to assess people looking to become police officers. From 1968 to 1971, 57 percent of black applicants failed Test 21 compared with 13 percent of whites, leading two black would-be officers to file suit. The issue was whether a “race neutral” test that led to vastly different racial outcomes violated the Equal Protection Clause.
Consider three questions from Test 21:
1. Laws restricting hunting to certain regions and to a specific time of the year were passed chiefly to
A) prevent people from endangering their lives by hunting
B) keep our forests more beautiful
C) raise funds from the sale of hunting licenses
D) prevent complete destruction of certain kinds of animals
E) preserve certain game for eating purposes
2. The saying “Straight trees are the first to be felled” means most nearly
A) Honest effort is always rewarded.
B) The best are the first chosen.
C) Ill luck passes no one by.
D) The highest in rank have farthest to fall.
E) The stubborn are soon broken.
3. “Although the types of buildings in ghetto areas vary from the one-story shack to the large tenement building, they are alike in that they are all drab, unsanitary, in disrepair and often structurally unsound.” The quotation best supports the statement that all buildings in ghetto areas are
B) undesirable as living quarters
C) well constructed
D) about to be torn down
E) seldom inspected
Minority applicants were at a disadvantage because the questions were geared for white cultural norms and idioms. But the disparate failure rates also speak to decades of racially separate and unequal education. Test 21 can be seen as part of a long American tradition — from grandfather clauses to literacy tests — of seemingly race-neutral measures functioning in a discriminatory manner."