Back of the Bus Theory

Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021
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Why do African Americans still continue to sit towards the back of the bus 60 years later? It is a very baffling question that deserves an answer. History tells us through well scripted documentation dating back to the civil rights movements of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks; that African Americans were determined to be treated as equal human beings and demanded their place in society through non-violent protests.

With these facts still lingering in the minds of pioneers and elders of a generation almost completely extinct, an individual has to wonder; could this be the long-term results of a particular type of mental programming, or is it considered cool amongst a lost generation to sit towards the back of the bus now? During an era where African Americans were not considered equal by the majority of whites in the southern states, it was difficult to maintain in a time of injustice, inequality, and uncertainty.

Most, if not every establishment in the south, had become completely segregated, and to be born an African American during those times was considered a sin punishable by man-made laws that swore to protect and serve the American people. African Americans were considered second rate citizens, who were bullied and made examples of on a daily basis; none of which, has changed much given our present conditions. Now you probably might be thinking; what does this have to do with African Americans and the back of the bus theory?

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Subconsciously, African Americans have reverted back to and are taking their rightful place near the rear of the society. Sounds crazy, but does this only occur in urban areas, or maybe this is something that travels beyond the inner-cities? What is the cause of such non-coherent behavior within a race that struggled for years in solving such a problem? Is this problem fixable and if so, how do we get to the root? African Americans have been programmed to think, respond, and act in such a manner without even being aware of it taking place.

Thus, the classic and operant conditioning of the mind can reach full potential without any disruption from the test subjects. For example, when African Americans were brought to America several hundred years ago and traded as slaves and so forth, they had to be broken of all positive and mental spirits. As time passes, slave owners and masters rebuilt the slave mind; supplying and relaying only the necessary information to the test subject to be carried out. This is done to ensure control is maintained at all times, thus maximizing the work output, and minimizing the escape count.

But like most experiments conducted on humans beings (e. g. Monarch Programming, Mk-Ultra) it tends to suffer from some sort of glitch over a period of time and the results can be devastating. The unconditioned stimulus and response along with the conditioned stimulus and response plays a major role with most if not all African American teenagers and young adults who travel on life’s public transportation system. Identity is hard to acquire when young adults are constantly swarmed by outside influences, and personal experience tends to be the best teacher when searching for one’s own self.

The same way fashion trends are set by major corporations and followed by most if not all Americans; are the very same techniques used when seat selection comes into play for our generation. Now analyze this fact, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat up during the mid-late 1950’s due to inequality and injustice of this system. This would be considered the unconditioned stimulus. She refused to adhere to certain rules, guidelines, and regulations set forth, and the publicity generated from this never before seen uprising sparked controversy amongst her African American peers to follow suit.

The uprising in African Americans is considered the unconditioned response in this particular case. The conditioned stimulus is simple to identify. The refusal of Rosa Parks paired with the civil rights protest of that era would result in the famous boycott of the Alabama public bus system thus creating the conditioned response. If this is known to be true, then why have African American teenagers and young adults adapted the back of the bus mentality after all of this has taken place? Scientists and researchers love to conduct experiments when faced with situations that have multiple answers.

If your child has uncontrolled and irregular bowel movements, you consult with your local physician; he/she will run test to determine the cause, where and how it originated, and propose to you options for resolution. Sometimes these solutions are on point, and sometimes they misdiagnose the symptoms. The solution that was proposed during the days of Rosa Parks was obviously temporary or misdiagnosed considering personal opinions and views. People say once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget, well what if someone never taught you how to ride a bike would you know how to ride one?

Animal instincts are something that we as human beings possess naturally; so in order for an individual to understand one’s actions, we must look towards the instructor who has influence over the individual majority of the time. This will definitely determine the individuals’ behavioral patterns, and ultimately speaks on who that person will become in the future. The nature and nurture theory solidifies that statement. So, how does this coincide with African Americans and the back of the bus theory?

Take police dogs for instance, they are use for a variety of missions, but the key point here, is that these specific creatures are trained day in and day out to be aggressive and attack on command. With this being stated, human beings can become mentally trained to perform specific tasks on command through the subconscious without being fully aware; hence the back of the bus theory. In conclusion, the experiences of our past can change our future if we choose to alter it. What our values, aspirations, and goals are can definitely be a deciding factor in where we choose to sit on life’s public bus.

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Back of the Bus Theory. (2017, Mar 26). Retrieved from

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