Democrat or Republican? Using Political Stereotypes as a Bias Discussion Exercise

Paper accepted for presentation at the Association of Leadership Educators annual conference, Albuquerque, NM, July 7-10, 2019.

Abstract: This innovative practice paper explains a classroom exercise that asks students to identify anonymous people as either Democrats or Republicans based only on brief descriptions. Students are challenged to explore the reasons behind the identifications they make, specifically confronting the trigger words that lead them to assign a political affiliation. In doing so, the exercise leads students to recognize preconceived notions that are largely based on general stereotypes. Although the exercise is based in political party identity, it is designed as a springboard into powerful classroom discussions about broader issues of bias and prejudice and is appropriate for use in classes about leadership and ethics.

Keith Herndon