Genocide, not genes: indigenous peoples' genetic alcoholism is a racist myth

The average person doesn’t care enough to put in the research.

Your hangup is that you’re viewing racism as similar to a light switch. It’s either on, or it’s off. You’re either racist or your not.

That’s not how anything in the real world works, especially complex reactions like racism or sexism.

Everyone is racist, including other races. It’s a constant struggle to continually work on it, it’s not something you suddenly cure and it disappears forever, and it’s not something your always aware that you’re doing, or participating in.

Is it racist to participate in a racist system that sells only to white people? Yes. Is it as bad as, say, intentionally hunting black people for sport?

I’m gonna go with a no. But in the same breath, it’s kind of missing the point when you’re worried about the scale of HOW racist something is.


Ooh! I’ve been to Cahokia several times. It’s pretty neat, and pretty humbling, to learn what kinds of things they’ve found there. It’s also pretty humbling to ascend that thing and see how big it is.

Those people were all over the place, too; there are smaller settlements near Evansville, IN and Metropolis, IL, to name a couple.

I’m going to have to disagree pretty strongly with that, because quite honestly even a person with an IQ slightly below their body temperature should be able to tell that there’s a big difference between just blissfully going through your life, and being a white supremacist.

Consider Burning Man, the Really Big Issue Of The Day. A while back, there was a lot of hand-wringing because the white organizer said something that, quite frankly, I’ve heard quite a few times, even from black people. He wasn’t right to relay this as fact, not by a long shot, don’t get me wrong, but it’s apparently a Really Big Issue that there’s a disroprortionately small number of black people.

However, given the cost of going to Burning Man, an incredibly tiny percentage of humanity can even entertain the notion of going. If you come from another country, there’s the expense of traveling to the United States. Then there’s the U.S.-sized cost of a ticket. The average Burner will be dumping double the tonnage of CO2 into the atmosphere of the typical

And there they are, out in the desert, presumably well-fed, well-stocked with water, doing shit out in the desert with wild abandon.

Meanwhile, there are people in the world who don’t have food, access to clean water, or hell, don’t even have a roof over their heads while regions like Europe either turn a blind eye or are openly hostile.

Would you accuse Burners of a full laundry list of terrible, no-good, very-bad things they’re obviously guilty of?

Point being, if you just flat out say, “Yes, that’s racist,” and, “It’s racist to consider whether or not it’s racist,” my own experience has said that it doesn’t help to throw that at someone. If you go to a store owner specializing in, say, Italian foods in an Italian-American neighborhood, if the owner is otherwise a decent person, if you look around, see only white people, and go up to him and ask, “Why is your store so racist?” he’s probably going to tell you to get the hell out, not start a conversation on how they can attract more People of Color to their neighborhood. It’s counter-productive in my experience, in other words. But hey, maybe you’ll get lucky and he’s so progressive that he scratches his chin and says, “You know, when you’re right, you’re right. How do we make this place more welcoming?”

OK, I’ve gotten way off the subject, and it all started because I was defending someone’s inelegant way of wording something, and feeling the need to say, “Hey, now, he meant well.” And now look at me. :stuck_out_tongue: Anyway, if anyone wants to go on about it, at this point I’ll bow out. No need to stab with any "gotcha"s, I’ll try to refrain from coming back, because it’s not productive.

Sorry, I was typing on buggy Android, so bits of my reply didn’t properly enter or got randomly autocorrected to something dumb. I corrected it to read; “The really sad (and by sad i mean depressing as hell) thing is that it really isn’t purely a stereotype.”

Perhaps they are, perhaps they aren’t; I haven’t really read any proper research on it. That said, different groups of humans do have different characteristics. Is me saying that black people are more likely to get diseases from vitamin D deficiencies in northern latitudes racist? Or the converse; white people are more predisposed to skin cancer in equatorial climates? Is it racist to say that the racial group which Navajo’s decent (Athabaskan) have, on the whole, a different body type than some other racial groups? Would it really be racist to say that people who adapted to different climates and food cycles might have different metabolic characteristics?

Thank you. I had an oddly hard time wording that. I meant, largely, that the stereotype exists because it is a sadly prevalent, it is a very real, and common, social problem among some native groups. There is a huge, depressing, grain of truth in it. It isn’t like saying “mexicans are rapists”, which is a stereotype in the most racist, erroneous, and reprehensible of ways. Obviously we can push this too far by stating “Indians are drunks”, which is also wrong.

There is some hope, when I was in college, I was friends with a large amount of Navajo and Hopi people who were getting degrees for the express purpose of going back home and fixing things. This is a topic that depresses me more than most, they have been blessed with a beautiful cultural heritage, live in some of the most beautiful land in the country, and have, mostly, one of the more supportive communities I have ever been in contact with. But sadly the Government, the national ideology (noble savages, the great white hope), and the national history (manifest destiny), has conspired to screw them royally. Parts of the Rez are a third world country, and generally the people in the states surrounding it, don’t give two shits. I noticed in both Flagstaff, and the time I spend in Northwestern New Mexico, racism is rampant towards the native community.

A bit off topic, I’m a bit sad to see that sociology is trying to fight back against genetics, and is deciding that everything must be racist. Everything has some genetic component. Alcoholism has some genetic component, twin studies have shown this. Also genetics is NOT destiny. Genetics, when it comes to behavior is generally a statistical predilection. Saying “x group has y that predisposes them to z” isn’t racist, nor it is taking away their agency, or autonomy. It sure as hell isn’t racist, if there is any proof that y indeed exists.


From what I understand, that’s not actually true. Look up “The Medieval Water Myth”. Or, I guess, you could read this article by food historian Jim Chevallier.


There you go again, countering my need to believe in the predictive power of genetics, mutter muttermutter…


It could still very well have a genetic component. I’m no geneticist. :slight_smile:

The problem is that the winners in the wealthy west are overwhelmingly white with a few minority families having also clawed their way up to where they can rent pseudo-privilege especially in that era of easy opportunity in the US post WW-II through say Nixon. So we often mistake racism for classism and sometimes the racism is using race like haircut or dress to label people for assumed class and thus racist discrimination without any racial theorizing. Racism is a fight that is must be won, but IMHO when we ignore class discrimination and hate we will also forever perpetuate racism.
Racism is an indefensible attitude and underground in the Anglosphere and Europe, but somehow accepted when presented as class based hate is also a way to excuse and camouflage racism of whatever flavor.

“I’m going to have to disagree pretty strongly with that, because quite honestly even a person with an IQ slightly below their body temperature should be able to tell that there’s a big difference between just blissfully going through your life, and being a white supremacist.”

You’re right, the white supremacist at least has the intellectual honesty to acknowledge who he is.

You must’ve missed the point intentionally, because you’re saying exactly what I’m saying just with a lot more anger. Yes it’s racist, not it’s not the same level of racism.

But again, if we’re discussing HOW racist something is, don’t you think we’re missing the point that it’s racist in the first place?


Well, I think you intentionally missed mine entirely.

Do you shop at Walmart? If so, can you explain why you endorse child labor and slavery?

After you get done sputtering about how it’s completely different, we can talk about how it’s exactly the same.

And then, after that, we can talk about how poor rural folks often don’t have a choice but to support child slavery. Are they still terrible people for it?

And again, after you get done sputtering about how it’s different…it’s not.

And finally, this was all in support of someone who had somewhat inelegantly said that they didn’t think it was all due to racism, but because their definition of racism doesn’t match, say, yours, the BoingBoing Gotcha! Brigade had to leap into action. And I think the Brigade needs the occasional reminder that, hey, we’re all guilty of something by proxy. Are you a fat American? Well, we’re 5% of the world and eat 25% of the food. We do it because food tastes good and we can afford it. People in other countries cannot. You can say that I have to accept you and to not accept you is prejucide, but I can also say that you’re guilty of making people in impoverished countries go hungry. And so on. tl;dr stop being so damned high and mighty.

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There is a prevalence in East Asian genetic inheritance for alcohol metabolism that results in more acetaldehyde in the system after drinking alcohol. This produces flushing and other unpleasant symptoms, and generally mitigates against developing a dependency on alcohol.


Or I can just tell you I avoid shopping at Walmart because I don’t enjoy kniwingly supporting child labor or a the abuse of illegal immigrants. There are plenty of suppliers of cheap plastic Chinese shit in this country.

I get that you don’t like the idea that you’re racist as well, it sucks, but just because your too lazy to stop supporting injustice doesn’t mean everyone else is just as morally bankrupt.


I guarantee you that you’re every bit as guilty of supporting injustice.

But we were talking about racism, and I was supporting someone who was making a somewhat inelegant comment that by and large agreed with the premise. But the BoingBoing Gotcha! Brigade has got to have its fun.

The older brother of my great great grandmother Henrietta wrote this to a cousin back in Scotland in 1855:
“There are a great number of Indians still hovering about the settlement. They are indolent and lazy vagabonds: who live upon the inhabitants by pilfering and cheating, but otherwise very peaceful, unless when furnished with spirits, when they become very troublesome.”

It’s probably the influence of my great, great, great grandfather, who loved indians but was also dismissive of them. In one of his books, he portrays some pacific northwest leader in a way similar to how black people were described, childlike and in need of European protection. It completely overlooks the change that the fur trade brought to the people. And it’s self-loathing, since great, great, great grandmother Sarah, was Syilx, aka Okanagan.

Another of Henrietta’s brothers was James Ross, chief justice in Louis Riel’s provisional government in Red River. He was also an early minority to the University of Toronto, taking law. I thought he might have passed as white, but I’m not sure. He died early, word is he apparently drank himself to death. He seemed the most torn, to be indian or European. He influenced how the area joined Confederation.

Most of those kids died early, Sarah living to about 86, not long before my grandfather was born. Only older sister Mary lived longer than Sarah. Someone even wrote a paper “The Ambivalence of the Ross Family Children”.

People came over, and applied their own vision, presumably before they could speak the language. The explorers and fur traders, like Alexander Ross, got to see the people as they were, but they brought the disease. So by the time the settlers moved into any given area, the people were already diminished in number, and presumably that distorted how the people lived. It became that much easier for the settlers to diminish the people.

But there is lots of incidences of people crossing over, even at first contact. Sarah probably had no or little contact with Europeans before she went with my great, great, great grandfather in 1812, and she spent most of her life in the Red River Colony. Was she curious, an explorer in her own right? When the Tonquin visited the Sandwich Islands in early 1811, about thirty men from there went on the ship to the pacific northwest. Maybe they were coerced, but maybe they saw an opportunity to go exploring, so bold since they didn’t own the means of returning. Others went to European school, like Spokan Gary, viewed one way he wants that superior education, viewed another way, he’d be simply curious about learning something different. If someone could go from zero to getting a European education, surely that indicates they weren’t less capable. Perhaps living conditions were “primitive”, but someone suffering during the Irish Potato Famine didn’t have much either. The people had technology, controlled burns to rejuvenate vegetation, platforms for fishing salmon out of the Columbia and don’t forget the canoes and kayaks.

Drunken indians exist, for whatever reasons, but the people aren’t just about poverty or alcohol, they can be and are everything anyone else is. Someone who is probably a distant cousin won a Bill Gates Foundation scholarship a few years ago. They want their identity because that’s one thing that was taken, which gives them a different perspective, but it’s only from a different angle. To change means that they be seen as everywhere, to talk about their world, and insight into ours. They aren’t all over there. That’s what “Idle No More” was in part about, tantamount to Robin Morgan writing “Goodbye To All That”, no more drunken indians, no more reservation indians, no more movie indians, no more 1812 indians, and no more sympathy. Change only happens when there’s empathy . They did those flash mobs on their own terms, and showed they were everywhere.


And that you look the other way to your own racism and that of others, yes.

Yes, you can endorse the inhuman treatment of others even if you’re not burning literal crosses on their lawn.

That doesn’t bode well for your own sincerity.


Maybe we should hold a Struggle Session together

It is not just Native Americans that are prone to substance abuse. Consider the Irish or the Russians. Then consider their horrifying histories. That historical factor would seem to be a much more obvious one than something genetic or innate.


It is when you just made it up.


Did you read the last bit of that statement? Where I said that?

In this case though, I’m not sure if the “y” variable is actually made up. To me the racist part is ignoring the term “predispose”.