The Media's Presentation of Common Stereotypes

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In 2010 ABC aired an episode of the show What would you do?, in which they put gender and race stereotypes to the test. During the episode three different actors appeared doing the same thing, stealing a bicycle, the only factor that changes was the gender and race. In the first run, the one trying to steal the bike was a young white male. As he tries to break the lock many people pass by him, but did nothing. Some asked questions others just stared. An interviewed woman told the crew that at first she thought the man stealing the bike, but in the end she realized that young white men don’t go around carrying stealing equipment. In the other case, the actor was an African-american. They both had about the same age and were using the same type of clothes. This time the people reacted in a completely different way. They approach the young man trying to steal the bike; they questioned him, they even called the police. The third case put a young white girl in this position. People did stop and stare, but not to try and stop the robbery but to help her, even when she admitted that she was stealing it. An interviewee said that when you see a woman like that you assume she lost her key and she needs help. Each and every one of the people that were presented with this situation reacted according to stereotypes regarding gender and race. Ott and Mack (2013, 196) define stereotypes as a representation of a specific social group that focuses on characteristics that are misleading and
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