1. the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.
2. the character of an individual viewed as a member of society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen: an award for good citizenship.
San Francisco and Silicon Valley have a high population of naturalized U.S. Citizens, Foreign Nationals, people who have a Standard Visa (such as student, business, or tourist visas), those with a green card, and those on humanitarian parole. Additionally, many of the U.S. Citizens who were born here are first generation Americans who identify with their parents’ homeland. Based on it’s multicultural demographics, the Bay Area should be an assimilated melting pot but it is not, as residents tend to network with only those who are from the same country. It is unofficially somewhat segregated. Additionally, those who learned to be racist in their home country tend to perpetuate racism here. For example, Korean Americans and Filipino Americans have racial tension between them, and that same pattern is repeated again between Israeli Americans and those from other Middle Eastern countries, and then again between the Chinese and Vietnamese, and then again between those from India and Pakistan, and so on. There’s a lot of racial tension in the Bay Area. Large employers deal with it by distributing anti-discrimination material to their employees and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
There is also reverse discrimination. For example, during the 1990s when I was an accounts payable specialist I interviewed for an A/P position at Littler Mendelson which is an enormous labor law firm. My first interview was with a CPA (the CFO’s assistant) and it went fine and so he arranged a second meeting for me to meet the others in the accounts payable department. When I arrived he greeted me and then took me to a conference room. Inside were five unhappy looking Filipino women. When I sat down they had weak smiles and muffled hellos. They took turns asking me questions and within ten minutes they became rude and they started talking to each other in Tagalog. As the group interview progressed they got worse. They sent me a strong message that I was not welcome there, and I looked at the CPA to see if he caught on and he was quietly staring at the floor. That happened at a law firm that specializes in employment and labor disputes. Later, after I had conversations with other people about it I discovered that it’s a common occurance.
Nowhere is discrimination more prevalent than on the dating market. There one runs into people who will date anyone but will marry only those like themselves. I was in a relationship with a naturalized U.S. Citizen for three and a half years. We got engaged and his mother threw a fit and then he decided to stick to his family’s tradition of searching for the wealthiest woman he could find. Two months later he came back. He stayed until he eventually found what he was looking for: A divorcee who owns a house and collects $2,700 a month in child support and earns $60,000 a year working part time as an expert witness for legal cases. Now I wish that I had never met him, and every time I’m reminded that I wasted three and a half years of my life on Arash I feel sick to my stomach. I feel a giant wave of anger and I start holding back those angry tears. I got burned and that’s just the way it is. His new girlfriend left him and he probably moved on to someone else within a few months, and if she doesn’t meet his income criteria than he’ll use her until he finds someone who does.
Usually when people talk about a lack of assimilation they refer to illegal immigrants who can’t speak English, but in my opinion that’s a very small fraction of the problem, because in the bigger picture there’s an enormous population of professionals like Arash – very ambitious yuppies from all over the world who are emotionally detached from this place (my home) and never develop a connection to it. They don’t give anything back, and when they hurt people like Arash did than they don’t apologize for it. They think that they’re on international waters (ungoverned space, i.e., “the high seas”). That’s not assimilation and they’re not Americanized. A person can have several college degrees from the United States and never serve any purpose other than to make money and keep it to themselves or spend it overseas. They scream at paying Social Security and they don’t open their homes to foster kids or serve in the military or donate food to the food bank or even bother to give a sandwich to a homeless person on the street.