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CWSL Hosts Open House for Smithsonian’s Bias Inside Us Exhibition

May 14 2024
Michael D. Washington '94, San Diego County Superior Court Judge, and Stephanie Washington explore "The Bias Inside Us" exhibit
Michael D. Washington '94, San Diego County Superior Court Judge, and Stephanie Washington explore "The Bias Inside Us" exhibit

SAN DIEGO (May 14, 2024) – California Western School of Law (CWSL) is continuing its centennial celebration— 100 years of producing practice-ready lawyers— with eyes on the future of the law, giving and this next generation of advocates the kind of training they will need in order to thrive. That is why CWSL is currently hosting “The Bias Inside Us,” an exhibition and community engagement project from the Smithsonian Institute designed to raise awareness about the effects of implicit bias on our psychologies, systems, and policies. 

Last week, CWSL hosted an Open House reception of the exhibit for school staff, faculty, and students, as well as local officials and educators, to help lay the groundwork for ongoing community outreach on this essential topic. “The theme of the Smithsonian exhibit resonates closely with the mission of the law school and thus it was a happy coincidence to be celebrating our centennial anniversary as we host the exhibit,” said CWSL President and Dean Sean M. Scott.

Through compelling images, hands-on interactives and powerful testimonials and videos, “The Bias Inside Us” exhibition unpacks and demystifies the concept of bias. Visitors will explore the foundational blocks of bias, the psychology of how it forms and how it influences behaviors both consciously and unconsciously. Interactive elements display how implicit and explicit bias show up in the world and how bias influences systems and policies that have consequences for many people and communities.  

Throughout the month of May, “The Bias Inside Us” exhibition will act as the centerpiece for CWSL programming on the crucial intersections between bias, privilege, law, and justice. On May 22, 2024, CWSL will host a panel featuring Professor Emily Behzadi Cárdenas and George Fatheree, in which they will discuss the long-term impacts of bias and racial discrimination on property ownership and what can be done to shift the material conditions of historically marginalized communities.   

Throughout its run, “The Bias Inside Us” exhibit is open to the public on the third floor of CWSL’s main building at 225 Cedar St. Additionally, San Diego and Southern California educators and their students will be invited to tour the exhibit, helping to initiate these critical conversations in classrooms throughout the community.  

“The Bias Inside Us” draws from the scientific research and educational work by psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji of Harvard University and Anthony G. Greenwald, professor emeritus at the University of Washington. They defined the term “implicit bias” through their work on unconscious and conscious mental processes. Their book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (Delacorte Press, 2013) explores the biases people carry based on their exposure to cultural attitudes on areas such as gender, race, social class and disability status.   

Major support for “The Bias Inside Us” is provided by the Otto Bremer Trust. Additional support provided by Acton Family Giving, Anonymous donors, The Beverly Foundation, Steve and Sheri Lear, Target, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, Thomson Reuters, Alabama Power Foundation, Allianz of America, Valerie E. and William A. Anders, Atlanta Gas Light Foundation, Julie and David Burton, the Dreier Family, Lennart Ehn and Ginger Lew, Expedia, Trevor and Melissa Fetter, the Roger S. Firestone Foundation, Brenda J. Gaines, Myra Hart and Kent Hewitt, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, Judy and Bob Huret, Dr. Christine C. Jenkins and Mr. Pierre A. France, KNOCK, inc., Sarah Lawer and Frank Guanco, Leaders Forum, Kathleen Mason, Elyse Rabinowitz and Jim Porter, Dr. Philip S. and Alice Hoolihan Randall, Gloria del C. Rodriguez, the Family of Leona Roen, and Naoma Tate.  

“The Bias Inside Us” is based on an original concept developed by Tolerance in Motion: Steve Lear, Laura Zelle and Elyse Rabinowitz, founders; Ellen Glatstein, Laura Lipshutz, Alice Randall, Joanne Jones-Rizzi and Susan Shapiro, directors; Don Shelby, founding advisor; and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Steve Hunegs, executive director.  

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.  For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit