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Culture Bump: 8 steps to common ground is now available in paperback and digital The 8 Culture Bump Steps are a surefire guide for moving through Milton Bennett’s (1986) Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS).


The DMIS is a road map of the six developmental stages for developing cultural sensitivity. Bennett says that all human beings begin the journey to intercultural sensitivity in the stage of Denial, followed by Defense and continue to the third stage of Minimization. He explains that folks in these three stages are: ethnocentric. He says that with training, we can move from ethnocentrism to “ethnorelativism”, when we begin to practice Acceptance and Adaptation. If we continue to learn, we eventually enter the stage of Integration. With this model, we see clearly what each stage of our journey will look like. However, we still don’t know exactly how to get there.


In other words: Bennett provides us with a vision of a better world Culture Bump gives us the tools to get there.


The 8 Culture Bump Steps provide the basic tools that we need for this journey. And the best news is that all we need to use these steps is our own (sometimes painful) experiences with… people who are different from us — in other words, our own culture bumps.

The first four Culture Bump Steps create a risk-free environment so that the “normal” impact of defense and minimization is greatly reduced. This freedom helps us to understand and move easily through Bennett’s first three ethnocentric stages.

Culture Bump Steps 1 to 4 brings into consciousness the exact nature of our differences. We start with Step 1 by… paying attention to that which catches our attention… we find ourselves separating actions, emotions and our perceptions of other people and ourselves. In fact, these first four steps provide an excellent bridge from minimization to acceptance.

The final four Culture Bump steps provide a path through the next three ethnorelative stages. With Culture Bump Steps 5 through 7, we begin to comprehend the role of culture in our own behavior and values, and in Step 8 we begin the lifelong task of eventually understanding our differences from the perspective of the other guy by having conversations for connection.

As we form deeper relationships with others, we don’t lose our own value system, but are free to add new frames of reference as we continue our life’s journey.

Research into the effectiveness of the Culture Bump Approach, using the DMIS as a research framework, is available. Simply click here.

“Bennett, M. J. (1986) A developmental approach to training for intercultural sensitivity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations , 10, 17-95

A Quick Quiz of Cultural Sensitivity

Place the following individuals in the correct stage of cultural sensitivity according to Bennett’s model. 1. A student from the Middle East is studying in the USA. He arrives 10 minutes late to his class. He raises his hand to knock on the door for permission; then slips quietly in and sits down. He goes to the Professor after class and apologizes. He is probably in the stage of: (a) Denial

(b) Defense

(c) Minimization

(d) Acceptance

(e) Adaptation

(f)Integration


2. A family living deep in El Salvador meets a North American tourist for the first time. They are fascinated with her blonde hair and laugh and try to touch it. They are probably in the stage of: (a) Denial

(b) Defense

(c) Minimization

(d) Acceptance

(e) Adaptation

(f)Integration

3. A Turkish woman (Muslim) attends Christmas Eve services with her friend and enjoys the music and candles. She is probably in the stage of: (a) Denial

(b) Defense

(c) Minimization

(d) Acceptance

(e) Adaptation

(f)Integration

4. A North American woman living in Venezuela complains bitterly about the crowded streets and the lack of discipline of the Venezuelan people. She is probably in the stage of: (a) Denial

(b) Defense

(c) Minimization

(d) Acceptance

(e) Adaptation

(f)Integration

5. A Bengalee child switches from English to Bengalee with his American mother and Bengalee grandmother. He automatically stands closer to his grandmother and would never joke with her. He enjoys joking with his mother, however. He is probably in the stage of: (a) Denial

(b) Defense

(c) Minimization

(d) Acceptance

(e) Adaptation

(f) Integration

6. An expatriate wife, living in Cameroon, writes to her mother that she really likes the Cameroonian people. She says, “They love their children just like we do. They are really just like us – under the skin.” She is probably in the stage of: (a) Denial

(b) Defense

(c) Minimization

(d) Acceptance

(e) Adaptation

(f)Integration

Check your answers by clicking here.


(July 5, 2018 )

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