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Rebuilding Relationships and Breaking Stereotypes

Mónica María Cook T.

“Stereotypes (or "characterizations") are generalizations or assumptions that people make about the characteristicsof all members of a group, based on an image (often wrong) about what people in that group are like”[1]. Nowadays, stereotyping is the cause of violence, discrimination and conflicts among youngpopulation because there is a lack of acceptance between different groups known as urban tribes. These groups tend to define themselves according to who they are and who they are not, so their "opponents"are often viewed in very negative ways. Although aggression and violence between and against urban tribes seem to be out of control, there are a number of actions that can be done in order to breakdown stereotypes and promote acceptance among them.

One alternative is promoting places where members of different urban tribes share their personal experiences. People are always makingassumptions about young population’s behavior, and even they judge them without knowing their thoughts or their life experience. For this reason, it would be good have a weekly chat with a special guestthat relates his/her life, shares the reasons of his/her choice to belong to an urban tribe, and answer questions from people. Shared emotions make empathy possible and it opens the door to new forms ofinteraction and trust building. “Once people get to know a person from "the other side," they often will determine that the other is not nearly as bad as they originally had assumed”[2].Another solution would be making campaigns around the city showing pictures and information about these groups in order to make people know them. Everybody usually reads and watches what they see inpublic places, so spaces like bulletins and publicity boards could be used to publish or disclose information like beliefs, customs, and testimonies of their members. In addition, these campaigns could...