Conflict resolution is a broad term covering any process by which a dispute between two or more parties is resolved. The term encompasses everything from cooperative decision-making to all-out war. CAHRO’s interest and expertise is focused on intergroup conflict prevention and resolution in the community and in the schools. CAHRO does not address conflicts between individuals and between and among families because there are multiple resources available to resolve them through conciliation, counseling and mediation. Rather CAHRO is using its resources to address conflicts where the personal identities of the groups involved feed into the conflict. The identities may be racial, ethnic, religious, occupational (i.e. police), or based on their age, gender, sexual orientation, local neighborhood, etc.
Formal conflict resolution techniques are usually divided into negotiation, mediation and arbitration, and while people intervening in and responding to intergroup conflicts need to be skilled in these techniques they also must understand group dynamics, community organizing and how to work with diverse groups of people. Some of CAHRO’s staff and many of its Board of Directors and members have long experience working to prevent and respond to intergroup conflicts and are a valuable resources for training, consultation and technical assistance.
Some Examples of Intergroup Conflicts
- Boycotts of stores selling liquor in low-income communities;
- Youth gang fights;
- Demonstrations against law enforcement sparked by a publicized incident;
- Outbreaks of campus violence between groups of students from different ethnic groups;
- Patterns of violence against gays and lesbians in a particular neighborhood combined with verbal and/or written threats indicating a purposeful effort to drive them out.