Opinion: Bay Area residents are ignorant of cultural differences


Sophie Lynd

The Bay Area is often depicted as the ‘poster child’ for diversity, but this diversity is often overlooked.

Sophie Lynd, Highlander Editor-in-Chief

It’s no wonder why so many people are attracted to the Bay Area; the ever-booming tech industry provides new opportunities and high-paying jobs every day, the temperature rarely drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and the region is known for being one of the most diverse areas in the United States.

In 2010, approximately 52.5 percent of the Bay Area population identified as white, 23.3 percent as Asian, and 23.5 percent as Hispanic or Latino, according to the Bay Area Census.

But this diversity is something we often take for granted.

As the tech industry continues to expand, an increased amount of people from other countries and states are moving to the Bay Area in search of high-paying jobs. Unfortunately, this pursuit for instant millionaire status has seemed to create a selfish culture in which residents are too busy attempting to become the next Steve Jobs to appreciate others’ diverse backgrounds.

It may appear that as Bay Area residents, we are less ignorant of a diverse population than in other regions of the country, or even within California, due to the so-called ‘diversity’ of the food we eat. Food trends popularize dishes from other unknown cultures, but these trends are often short-lived and the takeaway is usually solely the enjoyment of tasty foods and an aesthetically pleasing photo for one’s Instagram feed, not a newfound insight about another culture.

According to Stanford University’s Public Policy program, immigrants that entered the United States throughout the 20th century strived to assimilate into American culture and rid themselves of their foreign identities. Many families ‘Americanized’ their last names by adding or removing letters, others by changing their names entirely.

Today in the 21st century, we live in a society where embracing one’s culture is an expectation and trying to leave it behind is often looked down upon. But it appears that the self-absorbed nature of younger generations is resulting in obliviousness towards cultures outside of one’s own.

While it is remarkable to see younger generations recognizing a person for the infinite qualities that go beyond their appearance, it is important to continue embracing the various cultures that reside in such a diverse sector of the country and to not become ignorant to what makes us all unique.