Go back to the drawing board

Bordertown Blues commented on the letter to the editor about the Webb County Community Coalition and its call to ban alcohol at the Autmus festival and Laredo Heat soccer games (both non-TAMIU events that are held on the TAMIU campus).

Personally, I think the coalition needs to focus on changing the culture of drinking and not trying to quash it by calling for a ban. I would think we learned some lessons from the temperance movement – public pressure just doesn’t cut it. Unfortunately, they are an outside group asking for a change in a very superficial approach. If they REALLY wanted to change culture of drinking, a peer-to-peer approach would be more effective than a public letter writing campaign that only gives them press but doesn’t change behavior. I can see that TAMIU may inadvertently support alcohol with some of its practices but it is still up to the individuals on the campus to make a dent.

As a non-drinker (ok – very, very little drinker), I can honestly say that my actions to let me friends know in college that it was OK not to drink probably did a lot more than strangers telling my college to tell us not to drink. Here is an example of how one study approached the issue of binge drinking – by fighting PERCEPTION amongst students. If students really knew how little others drank, they wouldn’t feel the pressure to think they have to keep up.

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Oh wow, I am getting on my own nerves with that quote!! Haha, but it is so true.

At least you would avoid readers of this little blog sending in a note to look at the friends and pages of one of the leaders in the Webb County Coalition. Hmmm… so Laredo Bars were consulted, maybe?

We know that sometimes people are “friends” on Facebook for the strangest reasons but…

Be glad I decided not to take a screenshot of the “shots, shots, shots, shots” (I think it has more “shots” than that) fan page followed. Not a good example if you are going to take up this fight. BUT, maybe this can trigger true cooperative work for community and university to really fight binge drinking and not just shoot blanks in the air with media attention.


About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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2 Responses to Go back to the drawing board

  1. Que Fregados says:

    Too good of a Facebook interaction to not include! Comments on the Facebook page:

    Félix Peña – The ‘culture of drinking’ is everywhere, but I do hear people in Laredo complaining that there’s nothing else to do but go to clubs and drink. Here’s the magic question: What else could there be do do, that doesn’t involve drinking (or ingestion of other psychoactive substances)?

    Que Fregados – Well actually… the exact same things without alcohol. Of the few times I have gone to bars, I don’t drink and still have a good time. I recognize that I am a little more “terca” and peer pressure really isn’t pressure for me because I simply don’t care whether you like me more or less because I don’t drink.

    One of the reasons for starting this little blog was because there is so much going on in Laredo yet people don’t often participate. Entertainment should not be a spectator sport – go out and do something 🙂

    Ed Oviedo – Drinking culture??? I’ve been in Laredo for 14 years, actually to the day today. When we stepped out or went out in other cities where I resided, we would say, “Let’s go out.” or “Are we going out???” Sure, there would be drinking at times, but only in Laredo have I heard the phrases, “We went DRINKING”, “Let’s go DRINKING” or “Are we going DRINKING???” It may be perceived as the same thing but, in other cities, the emphasis is in having fun, not in imbibing. Go figure…

    Annie Martinez Vieyra – I am of the opinion that if people had better options, they would make better choices. This definitely applies to Laredo in many, many ways. I was a bored, unchallenged teenager in Laredo (a REALLY long time ago), so I feel I can speak with some authority on this. As an adult, I taught at a south Laredo high school where 20 years later, there was still nothing better to do but get in trouble. We really have to do better by our kids and REALLY commit to finding ways to keep kids busy and healthy–and I mean ALL kids, not just the north Laredo ones whose parents can afford healthy, and often expensive, entertainment for them.

    Ed Oviedo – @ Annie – I beg to differ. South has more recreational options than the north kids do. Most sports fields, splash parks, parks and recreational centers lay south of Calton Road. The main library IS on the northside of said boundary, but is often overlooked by most. The FUNNY (read odd not humorous) thing is that the NORTH part of the library is the section most frequented as it apparently does contain the entertainment (I’m quoting you here). Now, this IS funny (of comedic value here) because, if one was to peruse the reference section downstairs by the elevator, one would find a dictionary that would define LIBRARY as a n. pl. li·brar·ies – A place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, and prints are kept for reading, reference, or lending and what one finds in the NORTHSIDE are video games and movies, AND the parents who so willingly allow these kids to check these materials out. So, I guess it make sense, a culture in which the young ones seek ONLY amusement and ENTERTAINMENT is bound to give birth to young adults who seek the same via alcohol and other psychoactive substances.

    Félix Peña – A generation of people who expect to be amused and entertained pretty much describes the who country. I think that’s opposed to people who amuse and entertain themselves as opposed to having it prepackaged by a network, video game company or movie studio. I’m not making any judgments here, or speaking with any great authority; these are just musings.

    Félix Peña – Further musings: What is there to do where I live, Reading, Pa., that doesn’t necessarily involve drinking? We have a lot of local and nearby theater — so you can attend or participate — and several performance venues that bring pretty good shows, from classical to pop to whatever, even outdoor concerts in the summer. We have an arena like the LEC, with arena football, ice hockey team, and even indoor motor sports. We have a couple of big music festivals nearby — Bethlehem Musikfest, Philadelphia Folk Festival — and a bunch of small ones every year. We have bodies of water for fishing. We do have many miles of trails for hiking, running, bicycling. The weather’s pretty nice much of the year, but like Laredo, we have a season that’s not good for the casual exerciser; here, it’s winter. And we have the malls.

    But the question everywhere isn’t just what is there to do? It’s, how many people are people doing these things?

    Annie Martinez Vieyra – I do agree with you Ed, that most of the publicly-funded municipal parks and other works are located in the south side, for a few reasons. Back when many of these works were funded (I’d say LBJ ‘Great Society’ days), that was about the core of the city at that time. Also, neighborhoods with fewer economic resources are typically more represented in use of public dollars/public works. I also agree that the public libraries are an underutilized resource in the city. But what I can also tell you is that bored kids get into trouble. And also, the city parks and sport courts were probably sufficient 30 years ago, but right now, the number of public parks, swimming pools, green spaces, hiking/biking trails, public gardens, sport courts, amusement parks, etc. are inadequate for our current need. Which is probably why on any given day, you will see so many idle teenagers roaming the mall. Incidentally, that was the ONLY thing there was to do when I was a teenager in Laredo 20 years ago that was free and involved shade and air-conditioning. Or you could go to Casa Blanca, but I never like fishing, and we never had a boat, so that was never too appealing to me.I can honestly say that nothing has improved in 20 years, except maybe for the skate park in Hillside.
    And Felix Pena, I understand what you mean about kids having a pathological need to be entertained at all times; nobody knows that better than high school teachers. But I’m not talking about PS3’s or ipods, what I mean is healthy distraction during the idle hours outside of school. If I was the king of the world and could wave a magic wand and make whatever I want happen in Laredo right now, I would build about 10 more public swimming pools, an amusement-park-sized water park, a very large Brackenridge-style central public park with some sort of small zoo or botanical garden, a couple of hike-n-bike nature trails, a dozen public sport courts, and about 20 more neighborhood playgrounds.
    And it’s not just me that wants this, I think the kids would like it too.
    If only we had some leadership…..*sigh*

    Félix Peña – Annie, I agree, getting outside and doing stuff is good for everybody, not just kids; that fits my description of amusing oneself. Looking back on when I was growing up, pre-Great Society and War on Poverty, it was pretty bleak: Hardly any place to swim, other than the tiny pool at LJC or the Boys Club, which was just for boys. The Civic Center pool and the one at the Lake really expanded options for us when I was a young teenager.

    Ed Oviedo – So we are in agreement Annie and Felix and in a consensus of 3. That’s a start. Annie, the magic wand is excellent idea, sans the magic wand. Yours is a wonderful plan that can be achieved, not magically, but in a 5 to 10 year plan. I h…ave been a volunteer coach for close to 20 years. That keeps me busy all year around. Imagine that, busy in a city where there is NOTHING to do. Organized sports is the vehicle that will takes us to Utopia. Physical and mental health, civics, leadershipand teamwork are but a few benefits that imerge from participating in organized sports. Life is ALWAYS better when WE ALL do OUR part for the greater good. Let’s work on your plan for more facilities by getting involved and supporting the candidates for public office that share in our consensus. Oh, and no lip service, candidates, you will be held ACCOUNTABLE.

    Annie Martinez Vieyra – My time teaching in south Laredo led me to go back to grad school. I’m working on a master’s thesis involving at-risk youth along the Texas-Mexico border (Laredo, specifically). I’m focusing on the work of Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone, and the amazing turn-around he created there. I’m also looking at the establishment of charter schools in Laredo, similar to what was done in the RGV with high at-risk, recent immigrant populations, and STILL managed to be named one of the top 100 high schools in the U.S. by Newsweek in 2007 and 2010. It’s a matter of priorities. Serioulsly y’all, I could talk about this all day and night and not be close to finishing. I’m ready to take this to a committee. But I can tell you now, the current mayor can’t make a grilled cheese happen, let alone any substantive change.

    Ed Oviedo – LOL. Are you not related to Mr. Salinas son-in-law??? I love that you are, not only aware, but someone one is dedicating the time and effort required to do this RIGHT. Would you agree that sports fields, gyms and courts are more economical to build, maintain and staff than juvenile centers, jails and prisons??? That is in addition to improving the community’s physical and mental health and raising property values and citizen’s morale while lowering crime rates. Am I off???

    Annie Martinez Vieyra – I remember that my kids (students) always loved me because I was straight with them. When they would complain about why they had to go to school, I always told them that it was cheaper to educate them than to incarcerate them. It made sense, so they quit complaining (much). Even at a school with so many at-risk kids, we still graduated some kids that went on to Harvard and other Ivys, not to mention good state universities.
    Sports is the cheapest, fastest and most effective way to get at-risk kids out of trouble. I always encouraged every one of my kids to get into sports and ROTC. I NEVER had problems with an ROTC kid in class. EVER. My malandrines that got into football turned around dramatically once they had expectations, a structured routine, and physical activity to focus on.
    Having said that, there is a significant lack of opportunity for organized physical activity for at-risk girls. Boys can get into football, and use that as a ticket to improve their health and educational prospects. With girls, not so much. There is a big gap there that so far hasn’t really been ackowledged that we really need to talk about. Unfortunately, in some parts of Laredo, having babies is the most common pastime for high school girls. A mother’s level of education is the #1 indicator of how far a child is going to achieve academically. We all love to snicker and sneer at the pregenant freshman in our schools, but no one ever wants to talk about what we’re going to do about it. If we as adults don’t have the maturity to talk about birth control, and don’ tell our teens that we expect A LOT more from them, then shame on us.
    As for me, I have no relation to anyone, important or otherwise, in the Laredo political cabal. Maybe that’s why no one will listen to me. Hmm? At any rate, first thing is to overcome the Laredo culture of complaining about things and doing absolutely nothing to help solve things. If we can do that, we might even be able to overcome the “Drinking Culture”! Ok, maybe I’m starting to hallucinate just a little…

  2. Pingback: SCAN sued by TAMIU Alumni Association | Que Fregados

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