Michael Savage stereotypes ‘drunk’ Native Americans with debunked genetic myth
Conservative radio host Michael Savage last week said he had studied why Native Americans “get drunk” more easily than white people, and said that genetics were to blame.
In an audio clip obtained by Mofo Politics, Savage spoke to an “expert” who said that Neanderthals died out because they did not adapt to eat plants after the Ice Age.
Savage explained that he had “studied” Greenland Eskimos while working for his PhD in nutrition, and he discovered that they had very little heart disease even though they consumed high amounts of whale blubber.
“We can drink alcohol and they can’t, and that is 100 percent genetic selection,” the guest noted.
“Let’s talk about that for a minute,” Savage replied. “Native Americans have a lot of trouble with alcohol consumption. I studied this, and I tried to understand why such wonderful warriors ancestrally could not drink alcohol.”
“The reason that the Native American has difficulty with alcohol is because their sugar metabolism is different than ours,” he continued. “Their bodies were designed over thousands of years of evolution — if not hundreds of thousands — to consume sugar, meaning blood glucose, at a very slow rate. And that permitted them to go on long distance hunts, and long distance runs, and basically consume very small amounts of blood sugar.”
“That’s what their body was genetically designed for. And when you flood that body with an alcohol, which is a sugar — it converts to sugar — what you do is you completely overwhelm their capacity to deal with that large amount of sugar, and they get drunk very fast, and they get sick very fast.”
In fact, a 1999 study done at the University of Colorado’s Alcohol Research Center determined that the “rate of alcohol metabolism was shown to be the same among whites, Native flushers and Native nonflushers.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services, it is a “myth” that Native Americans have a biological weakness that causes them to metabolize alcohol at a slower rate than whites.
“Metabolism of alcohol among all people groups is related to prior drinking history and body weight, not race or ethnicity,” a Wisconsin DHS study noted. “Drinking patterns and problems among American Indians are influenced by the same factors as other people groups. These factors include genetics, age, social norms and laws, social involvement, economics, mental health, emotional pain or trauma, self-esteem, and environment. Substance abuse is not caused by race.”
Earlier this year, Arlen Dumas, chief of Mathias Colomb First Nation’s town of Pukatawagan, told the Winnipeg Free Press that the drunken Indian stereotype only served to “promote or incite hatred against our people.”
“The idea that indigenous peoples are helpless to resist the lure of alcohol, that we are genetically weak and more susceptible to it, plays into the notion of our supposed inferiority,” Chelsea Vowel, a Métis lawyer from Montreal, noted in a blog post last year.
Listen to the audio below from The Savage Nation.