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Violating a Social Norm

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Violating a Social Norm

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How will people react to my violating a cultural behavior norm? Specifically, I want to know how people will react to me talking to myself while riding the train. I propose that when I violate a social behavior norm by talking to myself on the train, people will respond tome in ways that indicate to me that my behavior is deviant. People will probably look at me strange, laugh at me, make fun of me, and probably more embarrassing things.

I performed my norm violation on the CTA Orange Line Train around 3:30pm as I was on my way to an audition. I was on the train for about 20 minutes and during that time I began to speak into my hand as though it was a telephone. I very clearly held my hand outstretched so as to let the “audience” know that I was indeed talking to myself and not into a telephone. I held 2 conversations with myself; the first conversation was with my brother about his day at school, and the second, which interrupted the first and I had to click over to, was with my friend. I spoke in Spanish with my brother and in English with my friend.

The “audience” was quite diverse. I knew from riding this particular train for so many years that the riders were usually people of color; African-American, Asian, or Hispanic. I wanted to make my performance as believable as possible. Unfortunately, I don’t speak any Mandarin, but I do speak English and Spanish, so I took advantage of it to catch the attention of more riders. The audience was comprised mostly of high school students going home from Curie Metro High School, as well as a few other area high schools. There were also people coming from or going to work, running errands, or going to other appointments and such.

The initial reaction I got from the audience was one of shock. Most people tried to figure out what I was doing, and I saw a few people looking at me closely for the phone or earpiece I was talking into. Many of the students talk about me. They laughed or made fun of me under their...