Homophily: Those of a feather flock together.

In the 1950’s, sociologist originated this term “Homophily”. “Those who liked Ike, liked each other”. The concept is now a renaissance because it has been introduced to explain the way Americans polarize with each other. We human beings, have a tendency to cling to the same types of people, interest, religious beliefs, etc. This tendency is described as “Homophily”. If I like classical music, then I might seek another individual who also likes classical music, this similarity breeds connection. Today, we are connected through the social network globally. Then why is it that we still don’t know each other? the obvious answer is of course because we are living in a Homophily environment. An environment that can be changed by only changing our habits. If you think about it, teenagers choose friends according to their liking, who they get along with, it is very rare that you would ever choose friends who you don’t like. It is almost a human instinct to cling to the same type of people. It is our innate pattern of behavior that will be very hard to break unless we find an inner, deep meaning to reach out to the unknown. The unknown can be described as stereotype or ignorance. If we don’t have knowledge of a subject on a social matter then you can say that we are ignorant human beings. Knowledge gives us freedom from ignorance, stereotype, and living in a Homophily society.

Our understanding of other cultures, and attitudes are strictly depended on the media. Unfortunately, media can mold us any way they want, unless we have knowledge to defend the media. In the past 15 to 20 years, it was reported that in 2001, our foreign coverage reduced 70% to 80%. International news coverage of American newspapers shrunk from 15% to 2%. I wonder why we have become a society who ignores the world around us. If Homophily can make us ignorant, then maybe the media can also make us ignorant as well. Reaching out to others who are different then you may be uncomfortable, but it is the first step in breaking Homophily.

If we are to evolve from this Homophily environment that we are in, and enter serendipity, the occurrence of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way, then we have to look beyond ourselves, our religion, our language, our culture, our way of life, and our own interests. When I was in High School, I was one of the very few Muslim students. I wanted to integrate, but at the same time, I wanted to keep my own culture, and religion. To break my own “Homophily”, I joined a Christian club called “Light House Christian Club”. I learned about Christianity which was a wonderful thing because I feel that I gained knowledge to make me a stronger human being and a stronger Muslim. I connected with others who were different then my own religion Islam, and this was a wonderful gift of knowledge and friendship that I will carry with me for a long time. To come out of an isolated citizenry, we need to reach for the unknown, and embrace the world around us without stereotype and ignorance.





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