Tuesday, 17 June Assess sociological explanations for the over-representation of some minority ethnic groups in criminal statistics. Whilst sociological explanations of crime have often looked at crime in a monochrome way explaining black and white crime, there are emerging trends of mixed race and Asian crime which contribute to the study of ethnicity and crime, in fact, mixed race individuals are the most likely victims of crime.
Official statistics seem to report the facts of crime yet the causes of ethnic minority crime or the conduct of the police are not represented by official statistics and it has been argued that in fact criminal statistics are a reflection of the policing and racism rather than crime itself.
Sociologists such as Left Realists suggest policing is the main cause of over-representation. Ethnic minorities are more likely to be stopped and searched by police and more likely to be given prison sentences rather than community service.
This means that statistics for ethnic offenders in prison will be higher as they are more likely to be prosecuted. Left Realists Lea and Young argue the police force are institutionally racist, whilst this may not be overtly racist in practice they suggest the procedures and culture of the police force are racist.
This was supported by the Mcpherson report compiled after the Stephen Lawrence case inthey concluded the mismanagement of the case came from racism within the Metropolitan police.
The police reflect wider society and therefore some elements of racism will be present. This racism within the police force suggests ethnic minorities are more likely to be targeted and stopped and Assess the sociological explanations of ethnic sentenced rather than White individuals leading to a higher proportion of ethnic minorities in prison.
However the idea that the police forces racism causes over-representation could be criticised as actually the majority of crimes are reported by the public not by the police and Phillips and Brown found in their research of 10 police stations that whilst Afro-caribbeans accounted for a disproportionally high number of arrests they were not treated any differently, perhaps suggesting in fact ethnic minorities do commit more crime rather than it is purely police conduct that causes over-representation.
Whilst ethnic minorities are often thought of as the offenders in crime, the Home Office Statistics also have an over-representation of ethnic minorities as victims, which many sociologists such as Marxists neglect as they focus primarily on why ethnic minorities commit crime rather than why they may be victims.
This over-representation in victim statistics could reflect not the racism of the police force but rather the racism of society, the majority of crimes committed against ethnic minorities were perceived to be racially motivated due to the language used in the incident.
This could highlight the reason for over-representation in this section of crime statistics is due to the alienation and marginalisation of ethnic groups as proposed by Left Realists, they are not only targeted by police but targeted by their White counterparts as they are a minority, suggesting the reason for overall over-representation is the marginalisation of ethnic groups.
However it could be argued that many crimes against ethnic individuals are committed by another of their ethnicity rather than White against Black, perhaps conveying that the reason for ethnic crime and victimisation is not simply due to racism or ethnicity.
Marxists suggest that ethnic minorities are more likely to offend and therefore be represented in crime statistics due to poverty and economic exclusion. Similarly to Left Realists, Marxists suggest an element of marginalisation that occurs in society.
Bourgois found exclusion from the economy by unemployment and a lack of opportunities can lead to an alternative economy. This included both legal and illegal activities including selling drugs and black market businesses.
This could be linked to Mertons 5 responses of innovation, unable to achieve goals through the legal opportunity structure they turn to an illegal opportunity structure, they are more likely to commit crime because not only is this a norm for this ethnic minority culture but they have been discriminated against in wider society leading to deprivation and a lack of funds to attain socially accepted goals.
This theory implies that ethnic minorities do in fact commit more crime due to their impoverished circumstances and alternative methods suggesting that over-representation in criminal statistics is borne from material deprivation and exclusion they experience in contrast to White communities.
Neo-Marxists suggest that the ruling class uses ethnic crime through the media as a scapegoat for times of political unrest to disguise a breakdown of the ruling class.
This would suggest the over-representation of ethnic minorities comes from a false and manipulative portrayal of ethnic minorities through the media which translates official statistics. Hall et al supports this theory suggesting in Britain was facing a crisis of hegemony.
This was used to draw attention away from this crisis by focusing on a negatively perceived group, afro-Caribbean. This moral panic justified large numbers of police on the streets using force and arresting an increased amount of ethnic individuals, therefore increasing their representation in crime statistics and in a way becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy as they were being targeted more lead to them being over-represented in statistics fuelling the moral panic.
However, it must be noted the association between black and crime has continued in times of economic boom and success so cannot be merely blamed on capitalism crisis. It could also be argued that black muggings must have originated from a series of actual events in order for the media to develop a moral panic suggesting that whilst the media and ruling-class may have caused an over-representation, ethnic minorities did initially commit the crime.Therefore it is not only black ethnic minority groups that are the targets but mixed race too.
In conclusion, the reasons for ethnic minorities in offending and victimisation tend to stem from the sturucture of society which favours white people. According to the ethnicity department for education, there are major differences in levels of educational achievement between pupils of different ethnic minorities (EM) groups, the statistics say that Chinese and Indian children .
Using Material from Item B and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in offending and victimisation. According to official statistics there are significant ethnic differences in the likelihood of being involved in the criminal justice system/5(1).
Using material from item a and elsewhere assess sociological explanations for ethnic differences in educational achievement. There are important differences in the educational achievement of pupils from different ethnic groups.
(Item A line 1). Therefore it is not only black ethnic minority groups that are the targets but mixed race too. In conclusion, the reasons for ethnic minorities in offending and victimisation tend to stem from the sturucture of society which favours white people.
Assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in educational achievement. (20) Tony Lawson and Joan Garrod () define ethnic groups as ‘people who share common history, customs and identity, as well as, in most cases, language and religion, and who see themselves as a distinct unit.’.