EDITOR: There is an age old adage that says birds of a feather flock together. This adage is echoed in the sociology theory homophily which argues that people prefer to associate with others that share similar individual like characteristics as they do. This is evident in all facet[s] of society, we see those with the same race, age, gender, religious or political persuasion finding it easier to relate and connect with each other. We can also observe people belonging to the same social class, status, social group and who share the same personal convictions being more comfortable in the same space.
There is nothing wrong with dwelling among your own kind; after all, a wise person once said, to each their own.
Homophily in itself can be seen as human nature; people who share similarities in demographic characteristics, social characteristics and life experiences tend to unite with ease and share a common understanding that is forged by the similarity. However, it becomes troubling when homophily begins to rare its head in the most unusual and unexpected places and circumstances. It produces much cause for concern, when the preference of association becomes so blatant that one group assumes some level of superiority over the other and mutual respect is no longer an option. It is sad to say, that
this is becoming more and more noticeable among the ‘antivax’ and ‘provax’ groups in our society. While our homophilous nature may cause us to want to associate with whichever group we find ourselves, our history has shown how as human beings under the right circumstances, we can allow the most minute, insignificant difference to divide us as a people. We have seen how easy it is to forget that despite our difference in opinions, we are more alike than we are different. For the most part, we are all desirous of the same things, the right to live, to choose and to be happy and healthy.
To this end, as we continue to weather the storms of this pandemic let us remember the words of the poet Peter D Helir, “…so when the race is over with, each race will be the same, we have skin of different colours now, but our blood is just the same”. In our case, we have different points of view now but our blood is just the same.