Are African Americans ignoring collapse of the family?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, while discussing the horrendous amount of violence in Chicago, much of it in the black neighborhoods, I said this to our guest, Reverend Ira Acree.


O'REILLY: When the civil rights legislation wasn't even kicked in, the black family was much more stable than it is today, 70 percent of black babies born out of wedlock. And I think the number in 1960 was below 50 percent. So things have gotten worse as the society has gotten more progressive.

REV. IRA ACREE, PASTOR: We don't want to make this a racial...

O'REILLY: But that's all it is. It's all black crime going on in Chicago; that's what it is.


O'REILLY: Now, the percentage of out-of-wedlock births among black Americans was 25 percent in 1965.

With us now, the purveyor of, Mr. Goldberg.

So the reverend clearly didn't want to address that.

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, and I'm tempted to say understandably, but I think it's embarrassing 72.5 percent out-of-wedlock birth rate in America today.

O'REILLY: For African-American women.

GOLDBERG: For African-Americans. That's embarrassing. And you know, in the entire recorded history of the planet, there has never been a greater voluntary abandonment of men from their children than there is today in black America. Never.

I mean, when men went off to war, they had to go off to war. That wasn't voluntary. But never as great of voluntary abandonment of children by their fathers than in black America today.

O'REILLY: Why do you think that's happening?

GOLDBERG: Well, I think it's happening for -- if I have to pick the most important reason, it's fatherlessness.

O'REILLY: So it perpetuates itself. You don't have a father, then you do the same thing?

GOLDBERG: You have said this -- you've said this in the past: it creates chaos. It creates a chaotic situation. That's one of the reasons you have so many people killing themselves in Chicago.

O'REILLY: I know. But here's my problem as a historian coming at it from a historical point of view. 1960 to '65 was the time in America where there was all kinds of civil rights problems. All right? I actually write extensively about this in "Killing Kennedy," which is coming up.

The black out-of-wedlock birth rate back then was 22 to 25 percent.


O'REILLY: And this was the roughest, roughest part. Tripled now. OK. It's tripled now. Tripled. Why?

GOLDBERG: One of the reasons -- well, I'll tell you why in a second. One of the reasons that the black community attributes to this, black civil rights leaders is racism.

Well, in 1940, when there was a lot of racism in the United States, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in black America was 19 percent. Then, in 1965, as you said, it was 65 percent.

O'REILLY: Twenty-five percent.

GOLDBERG: Twenty-five percent. This coincides with the beginning of the Great Society welfare state. From 1965 until today it's gone up -- it's gone up geometrically. So, that's what's happened. The government became the father.

Let me make one point that's very important to me. Willie Brown said earlier in the program that politicians should go to various constituencies -- the black community, for instance -- and say, "This is what I'm going to do for you."

That's not going to happen, because Democrats will never speak honestly to black people, because their white liberal guilt gets in the way. And Republicans won't speak honestly either, because they don't have the courage to do it.

O'REILLY: They don't want to be accused of being a racist.

GOLDBERG: That's right. Mitt Romney spoke to the NAACP last week. He should have looked at that audience and said, "Look, I'm going to try to turn the economy around. But there's not much I can do for a community where 72.5 percent of the people are born out-of-wedlock. I'm not going to be able to get jobs for a 15-year-old girl who has a baby. I'm not going to be able to find jobs for a young boy."

O'REILLY: There would have been a riot if you said that.

GOLDBERG: Wait a second. Who drops out of school because, in some perverse way, taking school seriously is acting white.

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: And he should have done that. And he should have said, "Government can do just so much. You, the venerable members of the NAACP, need to do more than you're doing, and you better be more successful at it."

O'REILLY: Can you imagine if he said that?

GOLDBERG: Yes. The press for openers...

O'REILLY: Everybody would have killed him.

GOLDBERG: ... would be all -- and you know what my answer to that is? So what?

So what? You don't do anybody any favors, whether it is the NAACP or any other group, when you don't speak honestly to them. And we don't speak honestly to black people. You've three or four influential black people on the show over the last week and this week. Nobody wants to acknowledge what the problem is.

O'BRIEN: In Chicago?

GOLDBERG: In Chicago.

O'REILLY: I'm glad you brought that up. That's why I said to the reverend -- he's a good man. And he is very concerned about it. Look, the cops can't do it. The National Guard can't do it. All right. What has to happen is the African-American community has to come together and demand that it stop.

GOLDBERG: Precisely.

O'REILLY: And the reason in the long term that it's come to this is because young boys, once they get big enough, don't listen to their mothers.

GOLDBERG: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: and if the mother says, "Don't go out," the young boy says, "I'm going out and I'm going to get in a gang," because they're almost impressed into the gang.

GOLDBERG: That's precisely the problem.

O'REILLY: And that's what you have.

GOLDBERG: And -- and with all the guests you had on in the last few days.

O'REILLY: Nobody would acknowledge it? Nobody.

GOLDBERG: Exactly. And neither will the Democrats and neither will the Republicans. And just in fairness, white underclass isn't doing a whole lot better. The illegitimacy rates.

O'REILLY: It parallels. You can see the white precincts. When there's no father present, the behavior isn't the same...


O'REILLY: ... as it was in the black. And the same thing for Hispanics.

GOLDBERG: That's correct.

O'REILLY: What you can't control young black boys. Young black boys, young white boys, young Hispanic boys are likely going to go wrong if they have no structure.

GOLDBERG: Right. But that young woman like you played a clip of earlier, what are you going to do for me? And Mitt Romney goes to the NAACP and says the schools are failed the children, your children.

No. The schools haven't failed their children. And I'm not saying the schools are great, necessarily. They have failed the schools. You go to school and you don't want to study, because you think that's...

O'REILLY: And nobody makes you study.

GOLDBERG: And nobody makes you study.

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: Listen, the one thing I want to leave you with: nothing is going to change in black America for the better as long as you have 72.5 percent of all the babies born with no father around. It isn't going to change.

O'REILLY: All right. Bernie Goldberg, everybody. There it is.

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