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An interview with Professor Suzanne Schaffer

An Intervivew with Professor Suzanne Shaffer from Penn State- York Campus USA. Dr. Archer: Professor Shaffer, you participated in the Culture Bump Workshop yesterday, Thank you for your presence and your contribution. I am interested in your insights from the workshop. Could you share them with us? Professor Shaffer: Well, the first word that occurs to me is accessible. The Culture Bump Approach gives us a language to talk about difficult subjects. Dr. Archer: Yes! I think the use of the term “culture bump” may actually interrupt a physiological process that leads to stereotypes. Professor Shaffer: Really, to me diversity issues are things that people think they know about already – in other words – we think “Been There – Done That”. But this idea of culture bump gives us a way to recall that WE are a part of that process – that it is a 2 way street. I am not there to “help them”. In fact, when we’re feeling culture bumps, we’re giving culture bumps to others – maybe without even knowing it! Actually, I was just excited to have a language to talk about differences in a way that is non-threatening. It’s non-judgmental for ourselves as well as for others. I don’t have to be perfect, but I can be authentic. My husband is from Puerto Rico so as you were talking about all these experiences, I was recalling all of our “culture bumps”. And even though I have always known about cultural differences, I can now go back and look at them again through this new framework. I think it’s the work of a lifetime really. Dr. Archer: I think you are absolutely right. Again, thank you for your participation. (May 6, 2014)

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