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UC-Davis Forum Looks At Candidate Media Images

This story was written by Pooja Deopura, The California Aggie

The University of California-Davis Cross Cultural Center explored stereotypes in a forum Wednesday evening to discuss how the media portrays and labels the presidential candidates.

CCC interns began the event with a group skit by advising attendees on the importance of voting based on ability and not personal or physical criteria.

"I think only white people should be president. We need a man to be president; can you imagine a woman president? He's too young. He's too old," said the interns in the skit.

Approximately 50 people attended the forum in the MU Coho.

"This event was put together so that the campus is aware that the media can shape [their] votes by the seven dimensions of oppression," said Monisha Newbon, CCC intern.

A short compilation of video clips presented how the media uses the "seven dimensions of oppression" - race, gender, age, ability, class, sexual orientation and religion - to influence viewers' opinions about each candidate. The presentation specifically focused on John McCain, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clintonto mimic the media's bias toward these candidates in spite of the existence of other candidates in the election.

Following the presentation, two representatives from Davis College Democrats (DCD) and a supporter of Ralph Nader debated on current issues such as same-sex marriages, abortion, clean coal, the economy and immigration issues. The debate was moderated by Alvin Tsao of Phi Alpha Delta.

DCD supported Barack Obama while Andrew Peake, the Nader supporter, spoke on the importance of third-party candidates.

"I heard somebody laugh when he heard that I was from the Ralph Nader campaign and I think we're really brought up to think [like] that, about third party candidates; that we're jokes," said Peake, a UCD alumnus. "That if you vote for someone who's not a Democrat, who's not a Republican, you're throwing your vote away. This is the state of California and the state of California is bluer than the Pacific Ocean. Barack Obama is not going to lose this state."

"So we can really make our preferences heard," he said. "When [candidates] vote against things clearly in the interest of the American people, people are going to stand up and notice. I think people should vote for these third-party candidates to send a message to these two-party systems."

The event was sponsored by the Cross Cultural Center and Phi Alpha Delta, a coed pre-law fraternity.

"I came out to hear the different view points; to hear both sides of the arguments," said Malaika Singleton, fifth-year neuroscience graduate student. "I think it's time for a change, and I think Barack [Obama] represents that on most levels. I think his policies will be better for this country and I'm honestly a little worried about what McCain would actually do in office."

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