A federal judge yesterday found a "lingering policy of racism" in the offset press section of the Government Printing Office (GPO) that he said discriminates against black workers there.

U.S. District Judge Barrington D. Parker said that "without remarkable excepion, the higher-ranking, better-paying positions in the section are held by whites, while blacks are clustered around the lower-ranking and poorer-paying jobs."

He gave the GPO 20 days to file an affirmative-action program to hire and promote more blacks in the division, which employs about 150 of the printing agency's 8,500 workers. The suit is one of several legal actions by black GPO workers alleging racial bias.

The GPO did not deny the validity of the statistical data on which Parker based his ruling, but claimed the data did not reflect raical bias and that the employment picture for blacks in the section had improved significantly.

"In view of the record, the court is not convinced that there has been a radical departure from the past within the offset press section and that racial discrimination has been abated to anyappreciable degree," Parker said.

Parker said blacks were so consistently under-represented in the section's management positions that "indeed, the number of them so employed suggests that they may be classified as an endangered species."