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Oklahoma Lawmaker Makes Controversial Statements About Blacks, Native Americans

Brian Hardzinski

An Oklahoma legislator is drawing heat for remarks he made last week concerning African-Americans and Native Americans, reports member station KGOU. The statements by state Rep. Todd Russ, a Republican of Cordell, came during house debate about the state’s new alcohol laws. Russ opposes the laws, which would allow wine and strong beer sales in grocery and convenience stores. During the debates, Russ said Native Americans are “predisposed to alcoholism.”

He added: “African-American Caucus, would you really vote for something that is the gateway to destroying the teenagers and the next generation of your culture and your people?”

There is no scientific evidence to support a genetic link between Native Americans and their ability to metabolize alcohol. High rates of alcohol abuse are usually linked to external factors like poverty or trauma.

The bill passed 61-30 and now goes to a conference committee.