The chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that black leaders are "watching the destruction of our race" as they "bitch, bitch, bitch" about President Reagan but fail to work with the administration to solve problems.
Clarence Thomas said in an interview that, in his 3 1/2 years on the job, no major black leader has sought his help in influencing the Reagan administration.
Black spokesmen should be working with the administration to solve such problems as teen-age pregnancy, unemployment or illiteracy instead of working against Reagan, Thomas said.
"These guys are sitting there watching the destruction of our race while arguing about Ronald Reagan," Thomas said. "Ronald Reagan isn't the problem. Former president Jimmy Carter was not the problem. The lack of black leadership is the problem."
Thomas, who agrees with Reagan's opposition to busing and quotas, said black leaders have allowed blacks to lose access to the presidency and become the only group overwhelmingly opposed to a "popular president."
"It's a damn shame that the only group almost unanimously in Walter F. Mondale's corner is blacks," Thomas said. "Hispanics aren't, women aren't, Jews aren't, not even Democrats . . . .
"What they black leaders have successfully done is they have essentially disenfranchised blacks," he said. "Blacks don't have clout in the Democratic Party . . . . Look what happened to Jesse Jackson. And the black leaders have alienated blacks so badly from Reagan and the Republican Party -- made him into some evil person -- that there is no chance at this point for blacks to discuss the Republicans as an alternative to the Democratic Party."
Thomas, 36, said his agency, which pursues charges of discrimination in the private sector, has had three successive budget increases under Reagan and has increased the number of cases it handles. The amount of money recovered for victims of bias also has increased, he said. The EEOC has taken fewer cases to court, but Thomas said that is due to out-of-court settlements.
"When I hear them say the president has a bad civil rights record I think that's me and my agency, and we have a very good record," he said.
He said the administration has made civil rights mistakes that have contributed to its image as an enemy of blacks. The Justice Department decision to argue that the Internal Revenue Service was wrong to deny Bob Jones University tax-exempt status because of segregationist policies was a case in which the administration "just blew it," Thomas said.
He said that instead of trying to work to reshape administration policies, black leaders have gone to the news media to "bitch, bitch, bitch, moan and moan, whine and whine. That doesn't help anything."
Thomas said that, although he has had meetings with women's groups, Hispanics and the handicapped, black leaders have not contacted him.
"It's a basic law of politics that you should always have access to people in power," Thomas said. "You don't alienate them at any cost. You don't call the judge reviewing your case a jackass; you don't call the banker reviewing your loan application a fool. But that's exactly what black leaders have done with this administration. They've call the president everything but a child of God.