Outline and explain the view that ethnic minorities are over-represented in official statistics (A grade)

Hello. This is my essay for the subject of crime and deviance on ethnic minorites in relation to the official statistics. It didn't quite make top marks and is a little rough around the edges, but there are some important studies mentioned. Hope it's helpful :)

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Preview of Outline and explain the view that ethnic minorities are over-represented in official statistics (A grade)

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Outline and explain the view that ethnic minorities are over-represented in Official Criminal
According to statistics (Ministry of Justice 2008) about 9.5% of people arrested were `Black'
and 5.3% `Asian'. Official statistics tell us how many people are arrested, but that does not
necessarily reflect offending rates. Phillips and Brown's (1998) study of ten police stations in
Britain found that people from Afro-Caribbean backgrounds accounted for disproportionately
high numbers of arrests. A similar picture can be seen among the prison population; 2% of
the British population is Black, compared with 16% of the prison population. Black people are
also six times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people. These
statistics raise some questions about ethnic minorities (particularly those of
African-Caribbean origin) and the criminal justice system.
Since the first ethnic minority groups came to Britain, they have been on the
receiving end of prejudice and discrimination by white Britons. According to left realists, they
have been marginalised by the society that they live in. Lea and Young (1984) argue that
crime is a result of the relative deprivation and marginalisation that some ethnic minorities
feel. Lea and Young (1993) suggest that young ethnic-minority males are marginalised
economically and socially by the racist culture in Britain, and that these groups have lesser
chances than the White majority. The result of this is the creation of subcultures that cope
with racism by turning to crime. Their appearance in criminal statistics is a result of violent
behaviour can be seen as a political act against racism and marginalisation.
Some sociologists would argue that the actions of some police officers are
motivated by racism. In an inquiry into the riots of 1981, Lord Scarman suggested that there
were a few `bad apples' among the police force that were racist and needed to be `rooted
out'. He says that if they did not remove racism from the police force, more racist recruits
may join. Studies by Smith and Gray (1985), Holdaway (1983), and Graef (1989) all found
racist views amongst police officers. Their stereotypical views of African-Caribbean youths
led them to stop and search these young people more than any other group. Some
sociologists suggest that it is not the individuals within the police that are racist, but it is the
ideas and practices of the institution itself. Institutional racism leads some police officers to
take on racial stereotypes about certain groups in the course of their work, which would
suggest that it could be a reason for the over-representation of ethnic minorities in Criminal
Although the concentration of ethnic minorities in Official Statistics usually refers to
those of Afro-Caribbean origin, some sociologists suggest that Asian crime is becoming
more noticeable. Abbas (2005) argues that Islamophobia has the potential to worsen Asian
crime by worsening the relationship between White British people and Asians. Increased
stereotyping of Islam will have a negative impact on society. Some sociologists say that as a
result of and in response to marginalisation, `cultures of resistance' have emerged among
ethnic minorities. Desai (1999) agrees with this argument, stating that in recent years, a new
generation of young Asian males has emerged, who are willing to stand up against racism to
defend their communities.
Cloward and Ohlin (1960) developed the idea of an illegitimate opportunity structure,
which runs parallel to the legitimate opportunity structure (progressing within a legal job).
Their idea can be applied to Bourgois' (2002) study of ethnic minorities living in El Barrio, a
deprived area in East Harlem. He argues that the economic and social exclusion that they
experience has forced them to develop an `alternative economy', involving a wide range of
barely legal and clearly illegal activities. He also noted the development of an `inner-city
street culture', which he describes as a `spontaneous set of rebellious practices that have

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Carl Nightingale
(1993) studied young Black youths in Philadelphia. He observed that they identified with
successful characters (role models) and wanted to taste success too. They had been
excluded from society like the youths in Bourgois' study, but instead of turning against the
dominant culture they strived, through breaking the law, to gain the possessions (clothing,
cars) that they wanted and to be successful. These illegal activities they take part in could
contribute to the high proportions of young black males in Official Criminal Statistics.…read more


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