Breaching Experiment Paper Assignment
Breaching Experiment Paper Assignment
Evidence of personal relationships can be found in almost any urban and rural public place. A dozen of teenagers hang out with each other on the sidewalk outside a market; a mother and daughter laugh playfully as they inspect decorations in a retail store; two women chat amicably with each other on a bench at a park as they watch their husbands play softball in a city league; young men and women greet each other with salutations and hugs at a local bar. In spite of the observations that are common, a number of traditions of communities and societies globally have not taken into consideration the study of personal relationships, especially in public places. In the past years, people have come up with claims that people who live in urban areas have tried to cope with issues that happen in their surroundings by doing away with social contact that is meaningful while in public. Public places have a variety of people and thus, the way the people relate is also different. People have different cultures, languages, and dressing styles among others. The society demands that people in public places should appreciate one another and live in harmony. However, this is not often experienced in day-to-day life. Some people appreciate one another while others do not. People in public areas often react in various ways if they see a person or an individual with a unique dressing style, language or culture that is different from theirs. For instance, as a student of Arabic origin, I have to dress in a specific way, that is, in my traditional all white Arab cloth. Due to the fact that we are students from different cultures, my colleagues often react to my dressing style in different ways. There are those who often appreciate my dressing while there are those who believe that those who dress in traditional all white Arab cloths are terrorists. Therefore, this paper will discuss how people in the public areas, especially in school, will react when they see me in my traditional all white Arab cloth. The paper will also discuss what ideas people will think about when they see me in the cloth, whether in a positive or negative way.
Several researches have been done to explain how people react to one another in public places. The researches have tried to explain how good relationships among people in the society are integral in ensuring harmony among members of the society. The researches done have also often tried to explain how Arabic dressing styles are viewed by other members of the society, especially from other religions and how they often react to them. According to Abdulhadi, Alsutany and Naber (2011) in their book “Arab & Arab American feminisms: gender, violence, & belonging”, Muslim women are considered to be conservative and backward and that only secular ones are liberal and progressive lay at the heart of the split between Western versus Oriental and Muslim versus Christian. For several years, some Arab Muslim women have tried to come to terms with the fact that their religious beliefs and culture are the major determiners of their ways of life. Thus, they have also tried to address their cultures by pushing for assimilation of more communities to their culture. Abdulhadi et al (2011) share a personal experience that an individual had a couple of years ago, which made the politics of these attitudes simultaneously personal and intellectual. They point out that someone once fell sick and lost all her hair. Thereafter, wearing a wig was not something she was comfortable with, so she ended up wearing a beret or scarves. The experience was an eye-opener about her own response to being perceived as a muhajjaba, that is, someone who is religiously observant and adheres to the Islamic mode of dress that instructs women to cover their hair and bodies and how it influenced the attitudes of people she encountered in the professional and academic arenas. Besides, Abdulhadi, Alsultany and Naber (2011) articulate that as the same person prepared to present a paper at the World Bank, she found herself thinking whether she could tolerate people thinking that she was becoming more religiously observant or if she should tell them about her illness as an explanation of why she was covering her hair. According to them, the assumption she was making was that becoming more observant was automatically a reflection of political and social conservatism and that she needed to deny that charge. Although she ended up sharing her illness with an Iranian scholar who was also a good friend of hers, she left all others wondering about the meaning of her beret and the scarf. Initially, at the World Bank, there were professionals both of Arab and non-Arab origin who were surprised by her dressing style and the possible political symbolism of her dressing style and fashion. Only after she delivered her paper could she see the equivalent of a sigh of relief on their faces.
Abdulhadi et al (2011) also add that the same individual had another encounter with a Jordanian Ph.D candidate who asked to see her. The candidate emailed her saying that she used her work in her dissertation and was in town and asked if she would take the time to see her. During their meeting, when she walked in with a scarf on her head, the Ph.D candidate immediately identified her, even though they had never met. The reaction, of course, indicated the extent to which the Islamic mode of dressing had become widespread among women across the world. As the two chatted, the Ph.D candidate confirmed that she was a Christian. The two spent more than an hour talking about shared interests and views. Yet during most of that time, the eyes of the Ph.D candidate remained transfixed on the other lady’s scarf and dressing style. She debated while they sat there if she should say something about her scarf, but she did not, hoping that their nice meeting and the ability to easily exchange views about different issues and ideas would be more important in determining how the Ph.D. candidate felt. Was the other lady’s scarf and dressing style a disappointment? She believed that the Ph.D. candidate walked away thinking that it was possible for a Christian woman and a muhajjaba to share positive encounters and that religious differences do not have to be an obstacle that prevent either from sharing similar views or extending support to the other. The incidences concerning Arab dressing and styles articulated in Abdulhadi, Alsultany and Naber (2011) are similar to my situation, whereby just like in the book, my act of wearing my traditional all white Arab cloth also faced various reactions from people in public places.
Furthermore, Moosnick (2012) discusses the same about people’s reactions to the Arabic way of dressing in his book “Ethnic Groups in USA”. Moosnick points out that several Arab women are conservative in their dressing. Their clothes are in a way that some cover their body parts while others do not. For example, Moosnick (2012) points out that a very conservative woman might wear a long black garment that covers her body from the shoulders down to her feet. Under this cover, it is believed that the Arab women could be putting on a traditional Arab dress in full-body length with long sleeves and filled with beautiful beadwork, or that the women could be wearing the latest fashions from designers who are famous or rather recognized across the world. Moosnick (2012) adds that, in addition to the dress, a very conservative woman would also wear a face cover known as niqab and head cover known as hijab. Some women wear the dress without the head and face cover while others might wear a scarf that covers the hair, but not the face. Men’s clothing also range from highly traditional to contemporary. They may also put on a type of robe called jallabiyah or ample trouser with can be accompanied by a long shirt known as thawb. For men, the dressing style is not complicated as they often tend to cover their head with a cap known as thagiyah covered by a kaffiyeh. The latter is held in place with a thick cord that is known by the name iqal. The kaffiyeh is a cloth that is usually shoulder-length, protecting the head and neck from the sun. This scar-like head covering is seen on men throughout the eastern Arab world both in rural and urban areas. Moosnick (2012) says that the Arab men and women often face a number of reactions from people in public places. He says that there are those in the US, who appreciate the Arab culture while there are those who view them as terrorists who want to hide themselves from the public by covering their faces, heads, and bodies with their modes of dressing. Others also believe that the modes of dressing are ways of hiding crude weapons that may be used to attack innocent individuals in public areas.
In the sociology class, since am an international student, the main purpose of my experiment was to know how people in public places in the US would react when they see me dressed in my traditional all white Arab cloth, and what ideas they will think about me and whether the ideas would be positive or negative. I designed my experiment in a special way so that I would be able to collect reliable information or data. To begin with, I prepared my all white Arab cloth by washing it and ironing so that smartness would not be a challenge to me during the experiment. Most researchers should be smart and that was my main aim during the experiment. Besides, I came up with written questionnaires that I planned to give to the people in public areas regarding their opinions about me in my all white Arab cloth or how they viewed other Arabs in their modes of dressing. The respondents would thus respond to the questions giving their opinions about my mode of dressing. This would help me know whether I was facing discrimination through my mode of dressing. This method had an advantage in that it would be easier to collect confidential information from the respondents in public places. Additionally, I had to prepare written interviews that I would use to get information from the respondents in public places. The main purpose of this was to avoid any incidences of time wasting during the experiment. Most citizens of America are often very busy and thus time wasting would be a major challenge to my experiment and furthermore, my act of wearing my traditional all white Arab cloth would even cause more discrimination. The other method I would use was to record a video of myself and play, and request for airtime in one of the international TV channels such as Al Jazeera. This would be the perfect way to reach a large number of people at once.
To begin with, one major target audience was the youths of the US, both Americans and non-Americans. This experiment would play an integral role by doing away with the beliefs among the youths that all people dressed in the all white traditional Arab cloth are terrorists or criminals. Besides, the experiment would help the youths embrace the fact that even Arabs are people like others from various religions and they should not be entitled to discrimination and ill treatment they often face wherever they go. Secondly, the experiment targeted the middle-aged women in the US. The experiment would help the women understand the reason why Arab women cover their hair and faces. They would come to understand that the practice is not a way of hiding from the authorities but a way of observing their religious practices. The middle-aged men in the US were the other target audiences of the experiment. The experiment would make them aware that wearing the all white traditional cloth was not only a religious practice but also a fashion that should be adopted by people across the world. Additionally, the middle aged men would understand that not all people dressed in the all white traditional Arab cloth are criminals or terrorists. This is because, in the US, people have negative attitudes towards Arabs due to the frequent terrorist attacks that the country has faced in the past years. The experiment also targeted the Arab populations in the US, informing them that there was no need of getting assimilated into the Western culture because of fear of discrimination. By wearing my all white traditional Arab cloth, I wanted to prove to the Arabs in the US that preservation of culture and religion was very important despite the environment and any possible form of resistance from the surrounding people.
The experiment was performed in the streets of the major towns in the US, where it would be easy to access a number of people from different races. In the streets, the questionnaires were given to the respondents and they filled them giving their opinions and reactions on how they viewed me in my all white traditional Arab cloth. Public places, such as stadiums where there were sports competitions also had people from various races and thus served as one of the most convenient places to perform the experiment. In such areas, I interviewed the respondents by giving them written interviews, which they responded to, giving their reactions and opinions on how they viewed me in my all white traditional Arab cloth. Other places where the interview was performed included churches, educational institutions, and trading centers. The respondents in these places were very cooperative, thus important information was collected.
During the experiment, people’s reactions were measured in various ways. To begin with, the respondents filled the questionnaires that were given to them and this was a perfect avenue or way of measuring their reactions. Through the questionnaires, some expressed their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with my mode of dressing. On the other hand, some appreciated my mode of dressing and the appreciations were through the questionnaires. During the interviews, I measured the reactions of the respondents by observing their facial expressions. Surprised respondents indicated that they did not welcome or were not satisfied with my mode of dressing while those who were happy and smiled while nodding their heads during the interviews were satisfied and appreciated my all white traditional Arab cloth.
The Arab culture is one of the most fascinating cultures, especially in their modes of dressing for both men and women. A number of Arab women are often conservative in their dressing. Some dress in clothes that often cover their hair and face while others dress in clothes that do not cover them. Among the Arabs, for example, a woman who dresses conservatively may be seen to wear a long black garment that covers her body from the shoulders down to her feet. Most of the time, under this cover, the women wear traditional Arab dresses in full-body length with long sleeves and filled with beautiful beadwork, or they could be wearing the latest styles that are recognized internationally. Besides, very conservative Arab women would also wear a face cover known as niqab and head cover known as hijab. Some women are seen to wear the dress without the head and face cover while others might wear a scarf that covers the hair, but not the face. Conversely, men’s clothing also range from highly traditional to contemporary. Arab men may often wear a long robe called a jallabiyah and the major purpose of this is to preserve their religion and culture. At times, the men are seen to cover their heads with caps known as thagiyah covered by a kaffiyeh. In the modern generation, these Arab cultures for both men and women face various reactions, especially from people of other religions. For instance, in my case of wearing my traditional all white Arab cloth during my experiment, I faced various reactions from people in the public places. Since my experiment was in public places, such as schools, sports competitions, and streets among other places, people from various places and races were respondents or observers. I could notice the reactions of the people in the manner in which they were looking at my Arab cloth. Others were happy and smiled and even clapped when they saw me in my traditional all white Arab cloth.
Additionally, since the experiment included interviews and filling of questionnaires, the reactions of the respondents could be seen in writing. Others expressed their dissatisfaction with the Arab clothes and cultures, and described the Arab culture as one that promoted criminal activities such as terrorism. Besides, during the experiment, I was able to measure the reactions of the people by observing their gestures, such as nodding of heads. As a matter of fact, during the interviews I had with the respondents, some nodded their heads in agreement and they appreciated my mode of dressing.
Thus, from my experiment, I would confirm that my act was not deviant from social norms as there are people who appreciated the Arab cloth I wore. Acts that are deviant from social norms do not receive warm welcome or appreciation from people. Had my act of wearing my traditional all white Arab cloth been deviant from social norms, then people would have not been involved or engaged in my experiment. Besides, I would have faced resistance and opposition everywhere I visited. However, the contrast was witnessed during my experiment. People turned out in large numbers to hear what I had to say about the Arab culture, while others availed themselves to see the Arab cloth that I was putting on. They even went ahead to appreciate the cloth by nodding in agreement or clapping in appreciation. This confirmed that though the Arab population in the Diaspora faces various challenges, such as discrimination, there are some people who appreciate the Arab culture. This was a good sign for the Arab population in the US and it indicated that they should not live in fear and should conserve their religion and culture by wearing their Arab clothes.
The students in schools also appreciated the Arab culture and utilized my experiment in their institutions as a way of learning more about the Arabic community. Most of them had come to understand why the Arab women and men wore long clothes that covered their body parts including their faces, hair and feet. However, after the experiment, they came to understand that it was a way of appreciating and conserving culture and that the Arabs were strictly following their Islamic religion.
In conclusion, it was found out that people had various reactions towards my mode of dressing, which was by extension an Arab culture and religion. Some people in the public places where the experiment was done were happy and appreciated the way of dressing, and even vowed to get assimilated to the Arab culture due to the fact that my appearance in the Arab cloth was rather attractive to them. Thus, it would be good to conclude that people reacted both positively and negatively to my Arab cloth. Some criticized it and related it to terrorism, as they believed that all Arabs are terrorists or criminals. Moreover, during the experiment, I discovered that the number of people interested to know more about the Arab culture in the US is very high. This is due to the high numbers of people I came across during my experiment, and who had several questions concerning the Arab culture. It would also be worth noting that my experiment played an integral part in doing away with the beliefs of discrimination that other races had towards the Arabs.
Abdulhadi, R., Alsultany, E., & Naber, N. C. (2011). Arab & Arab American feminisms: Gender, violence, & belonging. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press.
Moosnick, N. R. (2012). Arab and Jewish women in Kentucky: Stories of accommodation and audacity. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky.