Binge drinking is mostly for rich white kids

Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz (iStock)

It is entirely a coincidence that CBSN has released a new documentary about how rich kids are more likely to binge drink just as the New York Times published an excerpt from a book by two of its reporters that claims that the FBI didn’t investigate an account by one of Brett Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates that he shoved his penis into her face at a party as thoroughly as it could have. But sometimes it’s hard to keep certain things separate in your mind.

Anyway, the documentary is called Drinking Culture: American Kids and the Danger of Being Cool, and you can probably guess its overall tone from the title. The talking heads in the video cite studies that affluent suburban kids are more likely to drink because their parents drink and keep more booze in the house.

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Highly-educated (and presumably wealthier) parents are more likely to think that their children would never drink to excess and are also more likely to leave them unsupervised while they’re working or traveling.

Drinking behavior is also influenced by culture. African-American kids are less likely to binge drink than their white or Latinx counterparts, mainly, the experts say, because drinking is not as tolerated in African-American communities. This data comes from a 2017 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The documentary concludes that “binge drinking has become normalized among American high school and college students to an extent that would shock many parents.” I feel like this could apply to any generation—I remember seeing news reports like this back in the 90s when I was in high school along with the annual solemn reading of the Dear Abby “Please God, I’m Only 17” column—and other studies claim that binge drinking among teenagers is actually decreasing. But hey, if it turns out to be helpful, carry on CBSN.

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Aimee Levitt

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.