Ethnicity, crime and justice 2

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  • Ethnicity, crime and justice 2
    • Left-realism
      • Lea & Young - ethnic differences in the statistics reflect real differences in the levels of offending.
      • See crime as the product of relative deprivation, subculture and marginalisation.
      • Racism has lead to the marginalisation and economic exclusion of ethnic minorities.
      • Media emphasis consumerism which promotes relative deprivation = sets materialistic goals that many minority groups can't reach legitimately.
      • Racist policing leads to the unjustified criminalisation of minority groups.
      • Although, if the police do act racist, this is unlikely to account for the ethnic differences in the statistics.
      • Police racism can't explain the much higher conviction rates of blacks than Asians, as they would have to be selectively racist.
      • Conclude that the statistics show the real differences in offending between ethnic groups and it's caused by the differences in levels of relative deprivation and marginalisation.
    • Neo-Marxism: black crime as a construct
      • Statistics are the outcome of a social construction process that stereotypes minorities as more criminal than whites.
      • Gilroy - black criminality is a myth created by racist stereotypes of African Caribbean's and Asians.
      • They are no more criminal than any other ethnic group. But as the CJS acts on these stereotypes, minorities are criminalised and therefore appear in greater numbers in the OCS.
      • Sees ethnic minority crime as a form of political resistance against racist society, which stemmed from earlier struggles against British imperialism.
      • When they faced racism in Britain, they adopted the same form of struggle to defend themselves, but their political struggle was criminalised by the state.
      • Lea & Young - criticise gilroy as first-generation immigrants were law-abiding, therefore it was unlikely that they passed on a tradition of anti-colonial struggle. Most crime is intra-ethnic, not a struggle against racism. Gilroy wrongly romanticises street crime as revolutionary. Asian crime rates are similar to whites'. If he was right, then the police were only racist towards blacks and not Asians.
      • Hall et al. - 1970s saw a moral panic over black 'muggers' that served interests of capitalism in dealing with a crisis.
      • Ruling class rule society through consent. But when in crisis, it's more difficult. 1970s - British capitalism faced a crisis - high inflation, unemployment and widespread strikes.
      • 1970s - media-driven moral panic about the supposed growth of 'new' crime - mugging - committed by black youth. There was no evidence for this increase.
      • Black youth were used as a scapegoat to distract attention from the true cause of society's problem such as unemployment.
      • Using the black youth as a threat to society, the moral panic divided the w/c on racial grounds and weaken opposition to capitalism.
      • Hall et al are inconsistent as they claim black street crime was not rising, but it was also rising with unemployment. they don't show how the crisis lead to moral panic or that the public were actually blaming crime on blacks.
      • Don't argue that black crime was only a product of media labelling, the crisis of capitalism was increasing marginalising black youth through unemployment - resulting in petty crimes.
      • Bourgois - studied 'El Barrio' and discrimination excluded these groups from legitimate economic opportunities.
      • They created 'alternative economy' which combines legal and criminal activities such as drug dealing.
      • 'Street culture' has developed, which rejects mainstream values and provides alternative source of self-worth.
      • Legitimates drug use, which creates new addict, who turn to violent crimes to support their habits, undermining family life and community cohesion.
    • These are explanations for the differences between ethnic groups.


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