Despite growing national resistance to busing, racial quotas and claims that there is no need for further civil rights activity by the government, there is a "powerful and continuing climate of racism" in the United States, according to a report issued yesterday by a group of top black academics and leaders.
The report, "A Policy Framework for Racial Justice," urges increased government action on behalf of blacks, including formulation of a national economic policy that would include full employment "at a decent wage level for everyone willing and able to work."
The report, sponsored by the Joint Center for Political Studies, which concentrates on the problems and concerns of blacks and other minorities, also advocated government reform of the welfare system so that blacks can be trained for jobs and "graduate" from welfare. It also called for a national program to reduce teen-aged pregnancies and combat illiteracy among blacks.
"Contemporary racial problems cannot be dramatized by television pictures of cattle prods being used against those seeking relief from blatant forms of injustice," wrote Kenneth B. Clark, a social psychologist, and John Hope Franklin, a Duke University history professor.
"The chief barriers to racial justice today are subtle and much less conducive to media coverage. Such problems as inferior schools in northern cities that resist attempts at desegregation, deteriorating urban ghettos, persistent unemployment and underemployment and the myriad of handicaps of single-parent black families do not elicit the same moral indignation on the part of the American public as did earlier forms of injustice.
"Americans must be shown that the problems at this stage are no less intolerable than the earlier ones."
The 16-page report was written by about 30 prominent black scholars and political activists. Besides Clark and Franklin, they included Eleanor Holmes Norton, former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a Georgetown law professor; William J. Wilson, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago; Dr. Bernard Anderson, director of the Rockefeller Foundation's division of social sciences; Sir Arthur Lewis, professor of economics at Princeton University, and Eddie N. Williams, president of the Joint Center.
"We are not particularly adept at carrying picket signs or militant confrontation," Clark said in describing this group of intellectuals, which met several times over the last three years to prepare the report. " . . . we want to see if we can not only make sense of the problems but come up with suggestions for progress which we want to commend to the American people."
The report avoided any direct mention of the Reagan administration, but in asking for greater government intervention and added civil rights programs as well as increased planning for the national economy it directly contradicted several basic tenets of the administration's policies.
"Unfortunately," the report says, "the last presidential election helped to foster the myth that there was a leviathan federal government on Americans' backs and that it had to be lifted, however painfully, in pursuit of the American dream. The truth, of course, is that the role of our government in the social sector is far smaller than in other countries, including Great Britain, Germany and France."
Commenting on remedies for the nation's economic problems, the report uses a phrase from the Reagan economic policies. It cautions that the government cannot "take for granted that the effects of a better economy will trickle down to those who have been left further and further behind in the past."
In the section on the black family the report lists such problems as the fact that 48 percent of black families with children under 18 today are headed by single women and that in 1979 the majority of black births were to single mothers.