The Blame Game


animalhousebigpic021610The choices for this week’s blog post were interesting, but I decided to go in sort of a different direction. We were asked to describe an event or personal experience that reflects the broader realities about identity in America.. So what was the first thing that came to mind? Drinking, and its historical and social impact on the U.S.. We live in a time where apparently all teenagers and college age kids are delinquents who get wasted and make terrible decisions. Is it just our generation? Or is it a historical trend that people of this age group just go crazy? While this topic does not revolve around gender or race, it is certainly a “personal experience” that we as college age adults deal with in our day to day lives.

According to things like the campus climate report, there is statistical evidence that our generation intakes alcohol more frequently than any generation before. Now I’m not sure if I entirely buy that. I completely understand the concern when there are people going to the hospital for drinking too much. But let’s be honest. Chances are, our parents got just as trashed as we did. In fact, according to an article on binge drinking, there has been a significant decline in kids (High school seniors in this case) who binge drink between 1980 and 2003. And do you wanna know the funny thing?

“’Binge’ drinking is also down among American college students, and it has clearly been declining for a number of years. This is clear.”

Percentage of binge drinking among high school seniors

Percentage of binge drinking among high school seniors

What? It can’t be? We drink less than generations before us? Woops. Mind blown. Now, I don’t deny that binge drinking exists, nor will I say that it doesn’t exist at Bucknell. Kids are going to drink because it’s the forbidden fruit. But that doesn’t make every college age kid or high school student a degenerate alcoholic just because they like to blow off steam and have fun on the weekends. In fact, a fairly significant percentage of the hospital visits cited in the campus climate report were first year students. Chances are, they didn’t know their limits. Binge drinking is not a college problem. It is a national problem, but the blame is thrown at college age kids.

Excessive drinking isn’t just for college kids anymore. New Research shows that four times a month, one in six Americans goes on a drinking binge, knocking back an average of eight alcoholic beverages within a few hours.

Binge drinking existed before our generation ever came along, and still persists today.  And yet we will always be marked as the generation that created this social problem. So I guess a congratulations is in order?

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