Stereotyping: A Genre Analysis of a Video and an Article

The way we stereotype people is so easy, that at times we do it without even realizing it. What does stereotype mean? Stereotype is a way of labeling groups of people or a single individual by who they are, their skin color, religion, ethnicity, appearance, or by their surroundings. Stereotyping may have a good impact on others, which in the end it does not cause any harm, but what we should really worry about is the negative impact it creates. We may think that by calling people names, making fun of, or just labeling them for whatever reason, may not hurt them in any way; well we are mistaken by thought. This can create psychological disorders on oneself, physical danger, all which in the end can be fatal. Of course when in the moment of stereotyping we are not thinking on how and in what ways this may hurt someone.

            To inform people about the negative aspects of this topic, different types of genres have been used. Through the genres selected we see and learn about stereotypes thoroughly. The YouTube video “racism and stereotypes portrayed by media” is a short clip from the Oprah Winfrey show that show images from research being done about the topic. This first genre is different from the second genre that has been selected to inform the audience about the topic on stereotypes. The second genre is an article titled “The impact of stereotyping”, which clearly talks about the impact it has ones persona. The article was written by Leigh Goessl who posts her articles on the website Helium.

Purpose and Audience

            The purpose of the video clip “racism and stereotypes portrayed by media” is to show what the media really does in promoting stereotyping. Throughout the video we see how some research is being done by testing children, it shows a little dark skinned girl who is playing with two baby dolls, one white and the other black when asked which one is the bad doll, the girl immediately says the black doll. Similar tests like the one done to the girl are done throughout the video, all in regards to show how we stereotype African Americans to be criminals and bad people. Towards the middle of the video clip a doctor talks about the reasons for why people stereotype. The doctor mentions that white people are shown to be powerful, and attractive, meanwhile blacks do not feel this way. Later in the video a man is sitting down with Oprah Winfrey the host of the show, and he is talking to her about how the media promotes stereotypes. While he is talking about this, the video shows clips of TV commercials of toys; where the toys are all white, for example the Barbie’s girls play with. Another example that is shown in the video is the cartoons children watch, and also how they portray God to be white. A man says that people create an allusion of a white God; therefore they think of themselves as powerful like God.  The video ends with a cartoon of a white strong man saying he is the most powerful man. The video clearly shows the influence media has on children and other people, clearly portraying that white people are superior, powerful, beautiful, and better than dark skinned people. 

            While the video informs us about the consequences of stereotyping, the article “The impact of stereotyping” also informs us about what can occur when stereotyping, and a possible solution to this issue. Leigh Gossel the author lets us know that stereotyping has been acted upon many years back, and thinks that with time passing by this should have stopped long ago. She also gives us a definition of stereotypes; prejudgments and generalizations made towards an individual.  The article later informs us about the settings where stereotypes occur it mentions the workplace, school, home, or any social setting. It also lets us know that stereotypes are not always negative towards an individual, at times it may be a positive stereotype. This case would only be when the traits that are being called out, are respectful ones to the individual. Once the characteristics are negative then these have a negative effect on the person, it may harm them physically, or lead the person to attribute negative traits. The article gives an example of a workplace how it may lead someone to be stereotyped by not getting hired for not having certain characteristics. At the end of the article the author than gives a possible solution to this issue by saying that the uniqueness of every individual should not be judged, and to start eliminating misconceptions. The purpose of the article is to inform us about stereotypes, and what solutions can be taken to stop this issue.

            The intended audience for the video clip would be people who watch Oprah Winfrey’s TV show, and those who are concerned about stereotypes and racism. This video clip is more than likely to be watched by people who are fans of this TV show, than any other person. Though people may be concerned about the situation for example like mentioned before, there are the cliques formed in high schools. A parent who may be concerned about their teenager may watch this video and learn how media has an enormous effect on their children’s way of thinking about themselves and others, and how he or she may be treated in high school. The video is informative, but adults may show more interest towards this kind of topic.

            Now for the article, the intended audience would be about the same kind of audience as the one who would watch the Oprah Winfrey video. Because stereotyping seems quite normal to young adults this may not be an issue to them; therefore they would not be an audience of this article. The article is not very long, the most time a reader would spend reading this article would be about eight minutes. Like the video the adults who feel they are being stereotyped, or parents of children who are being stereotyped may be the audience who shows interest in the article.

Rhetorical Issues: Ethos, Pathos and Logos

            The video is credible by showing facts that are informed by Doctor Margaret Beale Spencer, who comes out on the video. By watching this video the person may experience a sense of shock, after watching the children’s reactions towards the tests that they go through, also by hearing the opinions they have towards dark skinned people. The video shows us the research that is being done to show how the media has a major influence on the way we stereotype others, and at times ourselves. The video is mostly trying to inform the audience of what stereotyping really is, and what affect it has on people, especially a psychological effect. Through the video we do see the use of rhetorical issues of ethos, pathos, and logos, by being credible since it is an issue that has been researched, also by creating a sense of shock when learning the consequences of stereotyping, and last by giving us information about how media has influence on the topic.

            When the video starts we can hear background music that creates a sense of shock, which later increases in volume after hearing the little girls’ response to the question she is asked about who is the bad doll. The audience may feel a sense of interest when Oprah Winfrey and her guest at the show are talking about how shocked they are with the responses of children. After showing more examples of stereotyping and how racist they may be, the audience may feel shocked by the reactions, sadness because of the racial discrimination, and disbelief on the examples shown. If the audience watching the video is of white ethnicity they may feel anger towards the people stereotyping them as powerful. This genre creates many emotions throughout the whole video, but in the end proving its point on how stereotyping is racism, and media promotes it.

            On the other hand the second genre is informative, and clearly may be credible. The article also informs us about the author Leigh Gossel, by giving us her biography, news about her, and her past articles that have been posted. Though because of the website where this article is posted, it may have an effect on the credibility. The website Helium has many things going on throughout the whole page, but it has a box of members of the site which shows pictures of them. It also shows the comments people post after the article, in which some post jokes of stereotyping, where in the end it leads the audience to believe that they are not serious about the topic. The articles gives us examples of settings where stereotyping may occur, and the consequences it may have. By reading the information given the audience may notice the logical sense in the article. The audience emotions may be interest in the articles information, confusion on the websites contents, and awareness on stereotyping. The article provides us with rhetoric issues either by the article itself, or by the website where the article is posted.


            The YouTube video “racism and stereotypes portrayed by media”, is organized in a way of first showing us images of the research that is being done to prove how media has influence on stereotyping. Later it gives a personal opinion from an actress who was invited to the Oprah Winfrey show. The video then gives us information that is given out by a doctor, who is followed by a man who as well is a guest at the Oprah Winfrey show. The video ends with assumptions being said by a man whose voice is being played as the background, while the video shows images of cartoons. The only limitations that this video clip would have are that it is just a part of the real show. The video clip is only three minutes and forty seconds long; therefore it is a very short clip in comparison to what the real length of the show is.  The structure of the video facilitates the purpose of the video, because even if being very short and concise it very well proves its point.

            On the other hand the second genre has a similar structure to the one used on the video, but it is set up differently. The article “The impact of stereotyping”, first of all is informative, by giving us information that stereotypes has been a part of this world for a very long time, later moving on to giving us a definition of the topic. At the middle point of the article examples are given to allow the audience to understand what the author is trying to get across. The audience then reaches the end of the article, but first is encountered with a question asked to the reader “How can society reduce stereotyping?” which is then followed by the authors answer to this question. This also allows the reader to give an answer to the question. The article would only take about eight minutes to read, and is very easy to read and understand; though the images and links surrounding the article may cause a distraction to the reader therefore leading them away from the article.

Style and Language

            The style and language expressed in the video is informal. Through the video we are able to understand the vocabulary being used to explain the topic. If the video would have used a formal type of style and language, the words being used would have been more extravagant to where the audience would not have been able to understand its meaning. Finally at the end of the video the audience may feel a sense of shock and disbelief, by the words with which the video stops; though the video was actually cut-off there it was still a choice for the individual who uploaded the video on YouTube to have let it have a different kind of ending.

            Like the video the article has an informal way of presenting its opinions and views about the topic. The author decides to use words that anyone is able to read and understand their meaning. The font used for this article is plain and black, very clear and able to read. The separation of each paragraph is very traditional and clear therefore allowing the reader to read in a more sufficient way. By only reading the first couple of paragraphs the audience is able to depict what the article is about. Also the question that the author uses towards the end of the article has been separated from other paragraphs, allowing it to set on its own and be very visible to the audience.


            Once having gone through an analysis of several steps we can see the differences and similarities of both genres. In the end the YouTube video may be more effective towards the audience for the reason being that an audience may be more attracted to watching a video than reading an article on stereotypes. In addition to that the intended communities for this genre may be more interested in watching an Oprah Winfrey show in comparison to an article posted on a website that may cause the reader to believe that it is not reliable because of the contents on the website. Having said that the article may be reliable and true at times, and the audience may trust it by reading and informing themselves more in the author by the information that is provided. Clearly both genres have the same objective to prove how stereotyping can have physical and psychological effects, and how it can be racist to stereotype others.