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Do you belong to a clique?

Posted: September 24, 2010 8:56 a.m.
Updated: September 24, 2010 8:55 a.m.

Do you belong to a clique?

That’s what I asked myself as I watched my high school alma mater, Columbia High School, on MTV’s most recent episode of “If You Really Knew Me” -- a television show that focuses on high school cliques and creates a forum where students tear down the walls that divide them.

While there were definitely levels of popularity in my high school when I attended seven years ago, I can’t recall seeing any significantly divided groups.

So, I can’t help but wonder if MTV -- who, let’s be honest, thrives on creating drama -- heavily edited the students quotes to make it appear as if they neatly fit into only one of the several cliques at the high school.

But as I watched the students bravely begin to break down and divulge their innermost secrets with each other, I couldn’t help but wonder when was the last time that I’ve actually seen a diverse group of adults do the same.

After all, cliques don’t suddenly evaporate when you graduate from high school.

They often carry into college, and then into adulthood, where they appear in churches, workplaces or even in high school booster clubs.

While we don’t judge whether a person may be an emo or a jock anymore, we try to strictly classify each other as Democrat or Republican, weird or cool -- as if we can all be accurately defined by one word.

For some reason, it’s often ingrained into our minds to connect with the people whom we look most alike.

We do it when we enter a crowded party, often making a beeline towards the person whose skin color, outfit or hairstyle most resembles ours.

By doing so, we often, and perhaps unintentionally, cut off potential friendships with people who we may end up having more in common with than we ever thought -- a lesson that shown on the MTV show.

I don’t believe that cliques and stereotypes are strictly a Columbia High School problem, or even a high school problem in general.

Labeling, stereotypes and biases are pervasive everywhere in our communities, and are used by people of all ages.

It’s easy to shake your heads and criticize the actions of a young group of kids, but it’s a lot harder to evaluate your own behavior.

If the guys at MTV thought that the problem was serious enough to explore on television, then maybe it’s time to ask ourselves if this is something worth exploring in our everyday lives as well.

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