By Megan Greve and George Mauzy
In 1872, Victoria Woodhull became the first woman and the first minority to run for president of the United States. Now, 136 years later, her attempt to bring diversity to the White House will be realized when Americans elect the first woman vice president or the first African-American president.
To bring awareness to this historic election, Alden Library's Diversity Committee will host Associate Professor of Communication Studies Jerry Miller, who will speak on race, gender and politics at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the third-floor Friends of the Library Room.
Miller, co-author of the 2005 book "When Stereotypes Collide: Race/Ethnicity, Gender and Videostyles in Congressional Campaigns," will discuss how stereotypes about female and minority political candidates can affect the presidential race.
"In our research, we discovered that a host of stereotypes are at play when potential voters know little about the candidates other than their sex and race," said Miller, also co-director of the Scripps Survey Research Center and director of the Political Communication Certificate Program. "Minorities and women were perceived as being more empathetic and caring and having certain expertise with topics that are stereotypically associated with women or minorities. "
For example, Miller said, there is common perceptions that women are better caregivers and that minorities are better equipped to deal with issues of crime or immigration.
Miller's talk is part of the Diversity Committee's Culture Corner fall-quarter series "Surprising Diversity of Presidential Politics."
Eileen Theodore-Shusta, chair of the library's Diversity Committee, said the group chose the topic because through the course of American history, only a handful of women or ethnic minorities have campaigned for the presidency. The committee put together a slide show and biographies of 12 of these diverse candidates that can be viewed on the Culture Corner Web site at www.library.ohiou.edu/coll/diversity/corner.html. The site also includes the Diversity Committee's goals, a list of its members and biographical information on series speakers.
The committee selects a different series theme each quarter for its Culture Corner offering, which was launched last winter quarter. The first two themes were "Abolition of the Slave Trade" and "Portraits of Appalachian Women."
Anita Grant, electronics acquisitions librarian, said the series is aimed at providing a welcoming environment in the library and bringing attention to the diversity of the library's collections. She said the library has a wealth of information on the diversity series topics.
"Hopefully the speaker series will lead people to investigate the great resources we have in our collections related to the diverse topics we feature," Grant said. "Our overall intent is to showcase all diverse groups and create more inclusiveness in the library."