A strikingly attractive, slender, hardworking, intellectually impressive African-American woman, Janice was 45 at the time of this incident. Her daughter was 30. Her granddaughter was 15, a student at the local high school, and pregnant. Janice (which is not her real name, but this is her real story) worked for our family as a domestic, helping raise our children and run our home in a leafy upscale New Jersey suburb.

Neither Janice, her daughter nor the pregnant granddaughter had ever been married. Capable of jobs far more challenging than running our household, the invaluable Janice asked one day if I would speak to her granddaughter about getting an abortion.

The road back to social sanity begins by asking every would-be office holder to endorse my proposal for a father’s name on every birth certificate.

- Geraldo Rivera

Although I had the usual middle-class, middle-aged modern male ambivalence about abortion, (icky but sometimes appropriate), I agreed to do whatever I could to help. Janice was intent on guiding her granddaughter to avoid her own fate of being trapped in domestic work because of the early onset of motherhood. I was tapped to do the job because there was no other father (or grandfather) figure around and the issue was clear. Time was obviously of the essence, so we had a family meeting.

I thought the 15-year-old grandchild bearing the unborn great-grand-child of my 45-year-old housekeeper would be grateful for my sage advice to terminate the still early pregnancy so she would have a chance to get her own life together before embarking on motherhood.

There was no father in the house, no baby’s father on the horizon to help in her journey or in caring for the child, and she was just barely out of childhood herself; literally a child bearing a child.

The high school freshman not only refused my sage advice, but did so scornfully, as if I was clueless about contemporary life. All my friends are pregnant, she insisted, or they soon will be. She explained how her clique waits until they are 15 or 16 to get pregnant so they can set up a separate household free of their parents; have the child at 16 or 17, then live a sustainable, semi-independent, state-supported existence on various entitlement programs until their own children are old enough to start the cycle again.

In 1954 a sociologist named Oscar Lewis wrote “La Vida,” a melancholic book describing the lives of poor Puerto Rican families in Manhattan who lived on the margins of postwar society in Spanish Harlem. One of the principal themes of that book is the Culture of Poverty — how people evolve or rather devolve into wards of the state.

Essentially, Lewis describes how the highly dysfunctional family and its circle of friends learn to survive by taking advantage of welfare, other forms of government assistance and the kindness of strangers, tossing in the odd job, legal and illegal, to improvise a livable existence on the edges.

Flash forward more than half a century and what is undeniable is how the life Lewis describes in “La Vida” now defines the lives of tens of millions of Americans, black, brown and white. I add that multiracial aspect of this dilemma, but make no mistake: this is mostly a black and brown phenomenon, especially black.
It is the Entitlement Hustle; families being raised by young mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers because there are no fathers in the house.

One out of four white families has no father in the home. Two out of four Latino families have no father in the home. Three out of four black families have no father in the home, and that number is growing so rapidly there is a real fear that marriage will become obsolete in minority households.

Why are there no fathers? Because if there was a dad in the home, he would have some responsibility for raising the child he helped bring into the world.

The consequences of the Entitlement Hustle are clear. Google them if you feel the need to be bummed. The children of these fatherless families are far more likely to drop out of school. The boys are far more likely to get shot or go to jail. And the girls are far more likely to have multiple children often by multiple fathers. These children will not be formally acknowledged by their dads and they will be unsupported either financially or emotionally by them.  

After all this time living the Entitlement Hustle, many minority dads have lost the instinct to be parents.

This grim reality is seldom addressed by either liberals or conservatives. The right stays away from it because they fear being branded racist. Imagine bringing this up on say Bill Maher’s show or the Colbert Report. It is totally uncool and best ignored. The same audience that gives rapt, enthusiastic applause to any aspiring public official who talks about the need for income equality and social justice would hiss and boo someone with the temerity to suggest that the post Civil Rights era has spawned broken families and a social system based on fathers not recognizing, disciplining or giving aid and comfort to their offspring because to do so would mean they are required to support them.

The left never brings up the Entitlement Hustle on the talk show circuit because to admit it is to suggest that civic compassion has spawned social devastation and that the sacrifices of Selma and Montgomery and the March on Washington have led to this sorry state for so many.

The tragedy is compounded by demographics in places like Newark, Trenton, Detroit, Camden, New Orleans and Chicago; more and more babies having babies and no official fathers in sight.

As the culture of Entitlement Hustle spreads, elective democracy surely follows. I don’t mean to make you wince, but why do you think Rome’s emperors played to the mob with something for nothing perks like their bloody games?

Populist leaders of today will continue to speak eloquently of social justice, but the subtext is vote for me and I’ll make sure the government takes care of you and your children.

Full stop.

There is at least the beginning of a relatively easy solution available.

The road back to social sanity begins by asking every would-be office holder to endorse my proposal for a father’s name on every birth certificate.

The idea has been endorsed on my program by brilliant African-American social activists Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West and others. Is it too onerous a social burden? Who is the baby’s daddy? Is that a racist question? Will that inquiry elicit hisses and boos from hipsters in the talk show crowd? If the father is named wrongfully, a simple five dollar DNA test will quickly resolve the matter.

Our overburdened social safety net can not long endure a society that encourages irresponsibility and makes normal the pregnancy of 15-year-olds. Pride will surely follow the acknowledgment of parenthood.

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your family.

Geraldo Rivera is currently a Fox News Senior Correspondent. Click here for more information on Geraldo Rivera.

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter& Instagram