(PNS reporting from EAST LOS) All people have six degrees of separation? Hells, nah! A new study by an area mathematician begs to differ.
“The truth is that, for Chicanos, there is only a single degree of separation,” says UCLA Ph.D. mathematics candidate Beto Pérez, of Painter Avenue in Whittier. “I’ve done a global calculation based on a plethora of factors and concluded that journalist Frigyes Karinthy’s theory of the general population does not apply to Chicanos.”
Pérez published his findings in article and photo essay titled, “Inlakesh: Chicano Identity One-On-One,” in the June issue of National Geographic.
“First of all, most Chicanos have too many primos,” he told PNS, “and therefore there are never too many people you won’t know. When you add in homies and rucas, plus tíos and tías, plus people you start calling “compadres” five minutes after you meet them, you never even get to the point where more than three degrees of separation are required,” Pérez said.
The next thing that brings Chicanos together, he said, is the obsessive use of social media like Facebook to overshare with as many people as possible. According to Pérez, this brings the degrees of separation down to just two. And Chicanos’ love of smart phones makes these connections instantaneous.
“Like, seriously, do I really need to know what you ate for lunch or where you spat your gum out?” asked an indignant Pérez, as he updated his Facebook status with the same question. “Seriously!”
But what ended up eliminating that last degree of separation in Pérez’s equation was hard to quantify:
Chicanos tend to gravitate to where they can get free food, drinks or products. This means they will go anywhere — or talk to anyone — in order to get some free pista or chow.
Lalo Alcaraz contributed to this report. Six Degrees graphic by daniel.