New Study Links Anti-Aboriginal Racism to Drug Use and Gambling Problems

Gordon Kent, Edmonton Journal, June 28, 2012

Aboriginal Edmonton residents face such high levels of discrimination that it’s apparently pushing them toward prescription drug and gambling abuse, a new study has found.

About 83 per cent of respondents to a 2010 questionnaire had experienced racism at least once in the past year, far more prejudice than black and Latino Americans see in a lifetime, according to research led by University of Lethbridge epidemiologist Cheryl Currie.

This poor treatment, which happens most often in public places, schools, stores and restaurants, can lead to post-traumatic stress disorders that are linked to problems with drugs and gambling for people living in cities.

“It’s the first study to show a link between racism and gambling among any population in the world that we’re aware of,” said Currie, an assistant professor in the U of L faculty of health sciences.

“I wasn’t expecting this … I didn’t think racism to be so high and I didn’t expect it to be so strongly correlated with prescription drug dependence and gambling, especially through PTSD.”

Hilda Francis, an aboriginal woman who has lived in Edmonton for about 30 years, said she runs into some form of racism two or three times a year.

She and a co-worker were told to leave a department store for no reason at the beginning of June and an employee wanted to look through their bags at the door, which Francis said she refused to allow.

About 15 years ago, a grocery store clerk served everyone waiting in line except Francis, and wouldn’t even respond to other customers who insisted she was next.

When she told the manager what had happened, he fired the clerk on the spot, Francis said.

The Boyle Street Community Services housing outreach worker has also run into landlords who won’t provide homes for prospective native tenants, sometimes stating outright “we don’t rent to your kind.”

“I see (discrimination) all the time. I take clients in to go shopping and I see people looking at them and watching them,” Francis said.

“It’s not right, what’s happening out there … it pisses me off.”

About one-third of the 381 Edmonton adults Currie interviewed had gambling problems, compared to less than five per cent of the general population.

Approximately five per cent were dependent on prescription drugs, five times higher than average.

“In the news we see constantly ‘aboriginal people have health problems, what should we do about it?’,” Currie said.

“Perhaps we should be asking more sophisticated questions about why they have health problems.”

Participants in the study talked about being attacked and called a “savage,” hearing an emergency-room nurse say “treat the Indians last,” and “white washing” by dying their hair and changing clothes to look less aboriginal.

There were also dark-skinned women who encountered fewer problems by allowing people to think they were Iraqi, said Currie, whose research took into account poverty, lifestyle and other factors.

She thinks more policies and programs, including psychological treatment, are required to deal with these issues.

“These people are suffering discrimination walking down Whyte Avenue,” said Currie, who did her research while at the University of Alberta.

“People are leaning out car windows to yell at them. They need someone to talk to.”

While involvement in spiritual or cultural events helps protect the health of urban aboriginal residents, participating in these activities seems to increase the amount of discrimination they face, Currie said.

More research is required to explain why that happens. One of five papers expected to be produced from the current work, which was suggested by an aboriginal advisory committee, ran recently in the Journal of Gambling Studies.

With more than half Canada’s aboriginal population living in cities, these issues are becoming increasingly important, Currie said.

“If we want to improve aboriginal health, we have to look more at what could be (affecting) their health, not just lifestyle factors … Sometimes racism is unconscious. We have to think about our attitudes,” she said.

“We think aboriginal people choose to smoke and drink and use drugs … Are they choosing, or are they coping?”

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • JackKrak

    When is someone going to do a study about the cause and effect relationship between minority behavior and drug use among whites?

  • Detroit_WASP

    LOL  Funny stuff.  another study linked HIGH IQ to drug use.  So, maybe it was their high IQs that drove them to drink? 

    What nonsense. 

    I wonder how much this study cost the tax payers?

    See story on high IQ related to drug use:

    • mikejones91

      I actually agree with this “theory”. Sure, you don’t have to be a drug user to be smart, obviously. But most (white) drug users are actually intelligent. Trust me on this one, I know a lot of drug users, current, and former. Doing drugs has NOTHING to do with intelligence. It’s just risk taking behavior.

    • mikejones91

      This study was done in the U.S. They observed mainly opiate addicts. Like my former self. I’m not kidding. Some of the smartest guys I’ve met have struggled with opiate addiction. Most opiate addicts are white so that is why I say this study relates to us.

    • El_Magyar

      I did not read your article. However, when I was in college I (chemistry and history degrees) and my other engineering, chemistry and physics friends did a fair amount of LSD and mushrooms. It was a lot of fun and very mentally invigorating. I think intelligent people can handle drugs better than less intelligent people. Instead of the brain being overwhelmed, it uses the drug as a plaything or tool to explore itself.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, every single white person in Canada is making the aboriginals drop out of school, use drugs, get drunk, etc.  Yes, every single white person there who hates themselves for being white and is trained to spot white racists at every turn is shoving drugs and beer down the mouths of nonwhites.  That’s gotta be true!

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if the displacement and violence against whites in South Africa or Zimbabwe is making them use drugs or get drunk? 

  • Detroit_WASP

    400 years of oppression?   Seriously, blacks believe that everything wrong with them is the fault of whites.  I was chatting with a black person online and that was their standard answer for everything.  Who is Jim Crowe anyway? 

    I pointed out to the black person that in 1965 25% of black children were born out of wedlock, today that number is 72% nationally, and 80% in Detroit so…the further we get from slavery, oppression, Jim Crowe,  the worse things got for blacks.  He didn’t reply directly and changed the subject per usual.   Welfare and an average IQ of 85 is what keeps blacks down.

    Blacks even blame their poor eating habits and resulting health problems on whites.  Google “the slave diet” if you think I am kidding.

    Anyone ever notice how many kidney dialysis clinics there are in the hood?  It’s astounding, and all free of course.

    • mikejones91

      That’s an interesting point. The farther away we get from slavery, the worse they seem to be doing. The farther away we get from the 2008 election, the MORE black on white resentment will grow. It will become an already larger epidemic. Needless to say, they will continue to stay down. They started down, and they stayed down. The longer THIS goes on, the MORE they will hate US! Hows the saying go. The most unequal thing is to try and make something inferior equal? Something like that. 

  • sgmpalm

    Just say no.

  • NYB

    Aboriginals were doing this to themselves before the whites came.
    In the 1840’s, artist Paul Kane travelled the far reaches of the North American
    West, from the Great Lakes along the fur-trade routes to the coast,
    sketching a visual record of the Indian cultures of that vast area.

    Not only did he record visual images of the American aboriginal, he also kept a diary.  In it, one will find accounts of aboriginal tribes in their natural state, before significant white influence touched them. 

    Contrary to what revisionists want to believe, gambling, cheating, suicides, slavery, spouse abuse, murder, ritual war and torture were part of native life,  pre-civilization.   

  • Christian

    “About 15 years ago, a grocery store clerk served everyone waiting in line except Francis, and wouldn’t even respond to other customers who insisted she was next.

    When she told the manager what had happened, he fired the clerk on the spot, Francis said.”

    I can see how an incidence like this, having been slighted by a cashier and then destroying their livelihood, could lead one to drink. That’s a lot of power.

  • Translation: White people cause Indians to drink beer. 

    • Church_of_Jed

      Germans make good beer.  There must be a Nhat’zee conspiracy behind this tragedy.

  • Within the past year I was:

    • Pulled over TWICE by the police
    • Ignored by a rude clerk in a 7-Eleven
    • Bitten by a dog
    • Overcharged 83 cents at McDonalds
    • Yelled at by a county office worker
    • Put on hold for one hour by Dell tech support
    •  and flipped off by at least 37 other motorists

    It all happened because I am an Indian. 
    Except I am not an Indian. I am white. 
    I need to find another excuse.

  • “It’s white people’s fault we’re so worthless!”

    Really?  So why did they behave even worse before we showed up?

  • “They hate me”. “7-11, Ha!”
    “They hate me”. “7-11, Ha!”?

    Yeah, right!

  • xxxtonygunsxxx

     the holiday in or any hotel or conference center is going to be thrilled to hear what amren is and how much nonsense they will have to deal with and how bad they are going to get sued when you guys try to stay there of hold a conference. so will the local police and community organizations.

    • xxxtonygunsxxx

       because tonyguns is going to call them up and tell them.

  • “Aboriginal Edmonton residents face such high levels of discrimination that it’s apparently pushing them toward prescription drug and gambling abuse, a new study has found.”

    Let’s correct the first sentence:

    ”Aboriginal Edmonton residents are involved in such high levels of prescription drug and gambling abuse that their behavior confirms stereotypes about aboriginals prompting non-aboriginals to avoid contact”. 

  • mikejones91

    ^^^ The perfect woman.

  • I thought gambling was caused by people being bad at math. Only dependant variable games offer a smart man a chance to win. Thats why casinos in AC scan all the yearbook photos from MIT so they can kick the smart people out.

  • Breaking hot, dot dot dot.

    Speaking of minorities and gambling:

  • Church_of_Jed

    Aboriginal Edmonton residents face such high levels of discrimination that it’s apparently pushing them toward prescription drug and gambling abuse, a new study has found. 

    European American residents face such high levels of anti White privilege discrimination that it’s apparently pushing them toward electing a n’groid Diversity to rule the Southern Baptists and to vote again for Obamau-mau, a new study has found.

  • “Whitey” and his “racism” strikes again! Is there any failure at the hands of  diversity we are not responsible for? Just wondering…..

  • We are going to discover crack-head aliens on Mars and they will blame all their problems on white earthlings. 

  • “Aboriginal” ? This woman is an Indian, NA. When they speak of “Aborigines”, I always think “Australia”.

  • mikejones91

    Exactly. That’s what was difficult for me. I could NOT get behind the 12 step. I would just argue with the idiot counselor. I told told her NA was a separate addiction, all its own.

  • mikejones91

    Well I do appreciate you not being rude to me so thank you for that. I agree with though. I am two years clean and maintain a healthy diet, and workout almost daily. I was young, reckless, and enaged in a lot of “risk taking” behavior. Skateboarding/Jumping off high things lol/ect. I realize that as well. They ( black dealers) feel some sort of supremacy towards selling drugs to whites. They have this “fiend” and “serve” mentality. The user is the fiend, and he serves them…How do you feel about marijuana use for medicinal purposes?