Kids and Booze
by David J. Hanson, Ph. D.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), and other alcohol activist groups refer to young adults as "kids." But adults who are 18, 19, and 20 are not kids and can legally:
- hold public office
- serve on juries
- enter into binding legal contracts
- own businesses
- serve in the military
- employ others
- be imprisoned
- be executed
- adopt children
- obtain abortions
- engage in legal games of chance (gamble)
- fly airplanes
- drive automobiles and other vehicles
- and so on...
By calling young adults kids, some alcohol activist groups attempt to deny their adulthood and to justify denying them the right to consume alcohol beverages.
MADD, CSPI, CASA and similar alcohol activist groups use the same linguistic tactics long used by racists to deny African Americans their rightful status in society. For example, racists addressed African American men as "boy." Similarly, some alcohol activist groups refer to young adults as "kids."
Racists also stigmatized African Americans by using the "n" word. This was a very powerful tactic to create and maintain negative attitudes toward other citizens. Today, alcohol activist groups attempt to stigmatize alcohol beverages by regularly referring to them as "booze."
When people call adults "boy" or use the "n" word, we recognize them for what they are -- racists.
When organizations call adults "kids" and routinely use the "booze" word, we need to recognize them for what they are -- neo-prohibitionist zealots.