Sample Essay on Breaching Experiment, “Singing in a Bus”

The following breaching experiment seeks to determine people’s behaviour, especially under extreme violation of societal norms considered fundamental to the growth and harmony the society. The experiment attempts to consider the culture and societal norms of the western people, especially concerning singing in a moving bus. The mainstream cultural norm of the western population is that people tend to adopt an individualistic behaviour. Therefore, they value personal space and rarely prefer interference. To test the perceived norm, I boarded a bus and began humming the song that played in the earphones. I could easily notice that most of the passengers were annoyed with the behaviour, especially because signing with earphones on can be loud. Most of the people in bus observed with disapproving gestures and preformed opinion. In fact, it almost appeared as a case of misplaced personality. I opted to inquire about the reason most people stared at me.

The individualistic nature of the American people ensures that most of them confined to their issues. There is minimal interaction with people and singing in the bus causes disturbance. It violates every principle and norm of individualistic behaviour. As such, people will scold and frown at any person who willingly violates the freedom of others by singing on a bus. However, the vehicle I boarded was full of white people, who, by their looks, worked in white-collar jobs. My conclusion was that the white Americans, especially working-class individuals, preferred that every person would mind his/her business. Therefore, singing in a bus portrays an individual as inept of universal culture because they are considered as backwards. This is because white Americans would not sing on a bus full of people.

The second time I boarded the subway filled with African Americans and mixed race people like the Filipinos. I began humming a common song, and it did not take more than five minutes when people next to me joined me in singing the song. The people seemed to enjoy the song, and used it as a gesture of interaction. Unlike the individualistic behaviour witnessed in the bus filled with white Americans working in white-collar jobs, there was collectivism among the passengers. People took turns in bringing up new songs, and the journey was merry as people shared in songs.

The second experiment exhibited people who value collectivism and find joy in sharing the little they possess. The people in the subway shared in a song because it united them as citizens. However, there was an in-depth sociological aspect that prompted the mixed-race people and African Americans to join in the song. In a society where salient prejudice and racial discrimination exist, people find solace in those who do not portray superiority and inferiority complex. An inherent belief where white Americans are considered a superior race exists in the society with cultural stratification that benchmarks people’s behaviours based on class. For instance, singing on a bus is a trait of low-class individuals, mostly the African Americans and mixed race people.

In conclusion, the breaching experiment indicated that society and the immediate environment have a role in influencing culture. People’s culture dictates the social constructs and behavioural expectations. Therefore, an individual that deviates from the norm is viewed as unique and an outsider. People create rules based on the norms and societal values held dear to them.