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“Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.” Raising her arms to the ceiling in unison with the 30-plus students in attendance, Dr. Kimberly White-Smith, Associate Dean, College of Educational Studies, opened the first Chapman Visiting Scholars Series presentation of 2015 with a simple, yoga-inspired breathing exercise designed to jumpstart students’ brain activity on an early Saturday morning. In one of the most interactive Chapman lectures to date, Dr. White-Smith’s presentation, “What’s In A Label? My Life In Stereotypes,” involved students in a number of activities and challenged them to reflect on their understanding of stereotypes and the impact stereotypes have on their lives.
 
Giving no more than her appearance and a brief background on her college education, Dr. White-Smith asked students to break into groups and write “the story of her life,” including details on where she grew up, who her parents are and what work they did, whether or not she’s married and has children, and so on. After scripting what they imagined to be Dr. White-Smith’s life, students shared their lists while the professor wrote everything down on large Post-Its place on the walls around the front of the room. Few groups could agree on Dr. White-Smith’s ethnicity, while several assumed she has one or more children and comes from a lower to middle-class socio-economic background. After Dr. White-Smith revealed that she identifies herself as African-American, and that she and her foster-brother were adopted and raised by an older couple, students admitted that they felt “weird” making a conscious effort to label her based on little more than the biases they didn’t even realize they had developed. Students also noted that they were afraid to share some of the items on their lists in case the items were offensive, which in turn might leave them open for judgment.
 
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