California: One state, multiple identities | The Triangle

California: One state, multiple identities

Photograph courtesy of Free-Photos at Pixabay

In one of the most diverse states in the United States, there has been a friendly rivalry that dates back to the 19th century. Just separated by an interstate that runs through a vast desert of nothing but small towns, Northern California and Southern California are situated on opposite sides of a spectrum. Not just regionally, but there are cultural, social and economic characteristics that make the two regions so different. While Southern California has a lot to offer, I firmly believe that Northern California is superior, due to its unique culture and the amount of opportunity it offers.

When people think of California, they think of Disneyland and Hollywood, which are both in Southern California; however, a big aspect of why Northern California is superior is Silicon Valley, home to several high-tech monstrosities.

According to Quartz, a digital news outlet, “Silicon Valley’s increasingly concentrated business cycle demands the most nimble, yet calculated, judgment and execution.”

Evidently, the area attracts some of the brightest minds, including people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, who have both created some of the biggest companies in the world.

On the other hand, Snapchat, located in Venice, Los Angeles faces a problem of low employee morale due to its location. According to Biz Carson from Business Insider, Snapchat’s scattered headquarters could prevent employees from fostering a positive spirit, thus potentially becoming detrimental to its growth. Because of this, many huge high-tech companies like Facebook, Apple and Google have situated themselves in the Bay Area. Silicon Valley is a land of opportunity, and as a result, many people desire to live in the Bay Area in hopes of becoming successful.

Northern California is also widely known for its rich culture and vast diversity. According to

Jillian Sederholm from NBC News, in a list of 10 of the most diverse cities in America, three cities from the list are located in Northern California while only one is in Southern California. San Francisco’s Chinatown is also the oldest and largest Chinatown in the U.S.

My hometown, Fremont, is often regarded as “Little Kabul” because it has the largest Afghan population outside of Afghanistan. Because of the large diversity, Northern California is particularly known for its food scene. In fact, the food scene is one of my favorite characteristics of the Bay Area. While Southern California has great Mexican food because of its proximity to Mexico, Northern California offers a delectable taste of several cuisines from a variety of continents in the world.

While Southern California is more well known for its weather, it’s also more infamous for its air pollution. The Greater Los Angeles Area has consistently ranked as one of the most polluted cities in America according to the Los Angeles Times. According to the American Lung Association, the harmful ozone pollution is more likely to cause asthma attacks, heart problems, lung cancer and even premature death. Also, the smog-filled city isn’t a pretty sight. Although the skyline is very popular, it’s often accompanied by a blanket of air pollution, destroying an image that was once beautiful.

However, Northern California is the complete opposite. It’s home to Redwood National and State Parks (where Star Wars was also filmed), offering a peaceful environment for people to take a stroll and to breathe in the fresh air. And best of all, the Golden Gate Bridge offers one of the best views in the world.

Luckily, I have lived in Northern California for most of my life. Occasionally, I would visit my cousins in Chino Hills in Southern California. Although they are family, I dislike their attitudes and personalities, which I’ve noticed many people from Southern California share. They often exert a more arrogant attitude as if they are better than everyone else. In one instance, my cousins and I were eating at a restaurant. After ordering and receiving our food, my cousin realized her order was wrong. While an incorrect order could be easily fixed, she proceeded to yell at the waiter, threatening to give the restaurant terrible reviews and demanding that we get a free meal. Although this was just one instance, my cousins have repeatedly shown their spiteful attitudes that represent some of the mindset in Southern California.

Having lived in California for 18 years, I prefer Northern California for several reasons, not just because it’s where I was born. Its unique culture is hard to hate. Its vast diversity offers an interesting vibe that can’t be found elsewhere. Traffic is bad in Northern California, but I guarantee it is worse down south. Regardless, there’s a lot of delicious restaurants to dine at. It’s fun to take Bay Area Rapid Transit to visit San Francisco and to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Northern California is truly the far more superior of its rival. Like how siblings fight, there’s always going to be a rivalry between Northern California and Southern California, but Northern California will always be home.