Stereotyping is a simplified way to approach others. As such, it often leads to misrepresentations. Keep reading to challenge ten common Colombian stereotypes.
Why do we believe in stereotypes?
In social psychology, stereotypes are fixed, over-generalized beliefs about groups of people. They allow us to infer a host of traits about their members (McLeod, 2017).
Stereotyping is a common social practice because it enables responses to situations using previous experiences as reference. However, generalization leads to ignoring differences between individuals and believing potentially untrue things about them (McLeod, 2017).
Now, let’s explore the most common Colombian stereotypes (Bell, 2017; Justicia, 2020;MinJusticia, 2016; National Stereotype, 2017; Sylvester, 2020).
Ten Colombian stereotypes you should not believe
1. Colombia is a tropical Caribbean country
Yes, Colombia does have a coast on the Caribbean, and many of its most famous places are hot. However, the country offers a wide variety of landscapes and temperatures all year round –from mountains to valleys, deserts, jungles, and even snow-capped peaks.
2. Colombia is extremely dangerous
There is room for improvement regarding Colombia’s security levels, as is the case with many other countries. Nonetheless, daily life is now far less dangerous. Kidnapping (a concern for foreigners) has plummeted from previous levels, and most places of interest for travelers are government-approved for visitors.
3. Colombia is behind on the times
Conversely, Colombia has vibrant, modern cities with the amenities to show anyone a good time. Places like Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Cali, and Barranquilla offer rich cultural and social scenes, as well as key utilities, financial, and accommodation services. They also have solid technological infrastructures.
4. Drugs are common for everyone
History has led many to believe all Colombians are perpetually around drugs. The truth is drug consumption and dealing are very controversial in the country. Most people relate drugs to violence and unsafety. Similarly, most of them perceive great risk in using drugs.
5. Every one is a dancer
If you ask someone what do Colombian women like, chances are dancing will come to mind. However, not everyone is a master salsa dancer (or a dancer at all).
6. Everyone is a party animal
Colombians enjoy a good celebration. But not everyone is down for the hard-party lifestyle.
7. Soccer is the main sport
The national male team has competed in many world cups. Moreover, the Colombian women world cup run has not been too bad either. Still, soccer is not the only sport Colombians excel at. They are also at the top of international cycling and archery competitions, among others.
8. Food resembles Mexico’s
Some people equate all Latin cuisine to Mexico. So they may be disappointed with the lack of spice in Colombian food. Nonetheless, they will be amazed at the variety and heartiness of its dishes.
9. Colombian women are easy
Colombian women are known for being lively, social, and spontaneous. Sadly, that leads to many false Colombian stereotypes about their stance on faithfulness, relationships, and sexual relations. The truth is Colombian women behavior should be more synonymous with a loving, hard-working, and committed nature. When wondering ‘can you trust a Colombian woman?’ the answer is usually ‘yes.’
10. Colombian women are supermodels
Likewise, women in Colombia are beautiful. However, the idea of voluptuous, ultra-fit, picture-perfect supermodels is one of those popular Colombian stereotypes.
Colombians and their country are not what simplified representations show. It will always be better to get to know people and places first-hand than belief in misleading stereotypes.
Bell, C. (2017). Here Are 11 Stereotypes All Colombians Hate. The Culture Trip. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/colombia/articles/here-are-11-stereotypes-all-colombians-hate/
Justicia. (2020). Casi la mitad de consumidores de marihuana son jóvenes y adolescentes. El Tiempo. Retrieved from https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/servicios/ministerio-de-justicia-habla-de-datos-de-consumo-de-drogas-en-colombia-557699
McLeod, S. (2017). Stereotypes. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/katz-braly.html
MinJusticia. (2016). Encuesta Nacional de Percepción sobre la Problemática y la Política de Drogas en Colombia. Observatorio de Drogas de Colombia. Retrieved from http://www.odc.gov.co/Portals/1/publicaciones/pdf/otros/escuesta_nacional_percepcion_problematica_drogas_2016.pdf
National Stereotype. (2017). 10 Colombian Stereotypes that All Colombians Can’t Stand Hearing. Retrieved from https://www.nationalstereotype.com/10-colombian-stereotypes-that-all-colombians-cant-stand-hearing/
Sylvester, P. (2020). Is Colombia Safe for Travelers Right Now? 6 Safety Tips. World Nomads. Retrieved from https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-safety/south-america/colombia/is-it-safe-to-travel-to-colombia#avoiding-crime-in-colombia