One of the first things I noticed at my school was a lack of social integration. Although there are many people of diverse backgrounds, from different parts of the world, everyone tends to self-segregate themselves into homogenous groups based on two factors. The first factor was the perception of ethnicity and race, although one might not be Chinese, the more asian one is, the more compatible one is with the Chinese group. There seems to be three levels of integration, the first is the ulterior layer.
The following diagram describes this.
This is the most superficial layer and is mostly associated with just being acquainted with one another in class. The people don’t actually hang out with one another, and they don’t meet each other often with the exception of being in class. The second layer is the inside group, its akin to being familiar with the group, but you’re still treated as an outlier. One might participate in activities together during formal occasions, or associate during free time, but the relative closeness is weak.
In order for one to be within the most inner core of the group, one must satisfy two conditions. The first condition entails being ethnically related in some manner. The second condition required one to be able to speak, write and read the native language of the group. It seems as though the people who lack the confidence or the ability to communicate in English, combined with an unwillingfulness to communicate in English seem to be the most likely attracted to these homogenous groups, whereas the ones who are able to take the initiative to speak English or learn English by various methods such as watching films or reading AP textbooks are more successful in establishing relationships with diverse people.
However, those who satisfy the former condition or the latter condition, but not both due to factors such being raised in a western society, cultivated by different values, and living with little knowledge or no knowledge of their native language and social customs are not capable of attaining membership within homogenous groups. Rather, they are attracted to the greater majority who can speak English, and they also have the ability to establish relationships of diverse people.
When you look down at the dining hall, from a bird’s eye view, you will witness that each group will self-segregate themselves accordingly. The white people with the white people, the asians with the asians, the lowest of the social groups with the lowest of the social groups (that is innately identifiable upon first glance). Some groups communicate more, while others don’t. Some are simply groups because they are the outliers. It is hard to become attached to a homogenous group without satisfying both conditions, because there is a sense of “awkwardness” due to fact that it’s not possible to relate or talk to such a table of people without establishing some secondary-linkage relationship to a member of that group who is able to speak in English. In any manner, the most that you get out of being within the group is on the associative level.
Its slightly saddening, but nevertheless I understand the compulsion to limit oneself. Consider that in most cases, the asians don’t share some interests with white people unless they are born as the North-American second generation offspring of Asian immigrants or later. Its slightly stereotypical to see that most of the asians are taking the AP classes with the exception of biology and that people from various countries such as Russia, India, England, Rome, Italy, etc are taking higher-level maths than the grade they are in. In addition, the higher-level english classes tend to be mostly composed of white females and white males who most resemble like upperclass offspring. Not everyone here is a candy daughter of an amazing actress or proudful son of a CEO, but in some level it may feel like it. Point in case, the outliers who have little association with minority groups at our school tend to associate with more diversified groups, the established homogenous groups of significant population cluster themselves and the lesser established homogenous groups do band together, but in addition to the other homogenous groups. (i.e. Japanese, with some Chinese and Korean; Korean with Korean; Chinese with Chinese).
There are also two extra layers of separation. The upper bound grades and the lower bound grades. This barrier is less pronounced in the minority groups and homogenous groups (that are not the majority). Grade 9s and 10s seem to have various relationships that are distinct and uncharacteristic of those of Grade 11s and Grade 12s. A certain level of contempt and looking down is present within the seniors, it also follows that the socio-functional structure of our school reinforces these falsified socio-expressions by burdening the Grade 12s with more responsibilities, making them exemplary role models and giving them more privileges. The school tends to overlook distinct and unique individuals who don’t share certain commonalities with other groups, but are able to handle things on their own.
Unfortunately, I can’t make a judgement whether all the above said is good or bad. Certainly social cohesion is an innate attribute or aspect of social groups that is required in order to establish a certain level of trust, and thereafter capability of sharing experiences and living together in some form or way. On the other hand, its reluctance to take consideration of the strengths of other individuals of other groups and its innate weakness as a social entity in various other factors make it notable, and perhaps even deemable that there is more than to what meets the eye.