Using material from Item B and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in both offending and victimisation 21 marks

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Using material from Item B and elsewhere assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in
both offending and victimisation 21 marks
Black people make up 2% of the general population and 11% of the prison population. This could
be caused by, as stated in Item B, the fact that in 2007/2008, Black people were nearly four times
more likely to be arrested than White people, and seven times more likely to be stopped and
Phillips and Bowling (2007) not that since the 2970s there have been many allegations of
oppressive policing of minority ethnic communities. And that many officers hold negative
stereotypes about ethnic minorities as criminals, leading to deliberate targeting for stop and
search. Such stereotypes are endorsed and upheld by the `canteen culture' of rank and file
officers. Ethnic minorities sentencing seems to be longer, even when severity of crime and
previous convictions are taken into account. In 2006/7, custodial sentences were given to a
greater proportion of black offenders (68%) than white (55%) or Asians (59%) where as whites and
Asians were more likely than blacks to receive community services sentences, this may be due to
the differences in the seriousness of the offence, or in defendant's previous convictions.
Left realists such as Lea and Young (1993) argue that ethnic differences in the statistics reflect real
differences in the levels of offending by different ethnic groups. Left realists see crime as a
product of relative deprivation, subculture and marginalisation. They argue that racism has led to
the marginalisation and economic exclusion of ethnic minorities, who face higher levels of
unemployment, poverty and poor housing. Lea and Young conclude that statistics represent real
differences in levels of offending between ethnic groups and that these are caused by real
differences in levels of deprivation and marginalisation.
Gilroy argues that the idea of black criminality is a myth created by racist stereotypes of African ­
Caribbean's and Asians. In reality there's groups are no more criminal than any other. However, as
a result of the police and criminal justice system acting on these racist stereotypes, ethnic
minorities come to be criminalised and therefore to appear in greater numbers in the official
statistics. However, Gilroy can be criticised as Asian crime rates are similar to or lower than
whites. If Gilroy was correct, the police are only racist towards blacks and not Asians, which seems
Hall (1979) adopted a neo-Marxist perspective. They argue that the 1970s saw a moral panic over
black `muggers' that served the interests of capitalism. Hall et al argue that the ruling class are
normally able to rule the subordinate classes through consent. At times, when opposition to
capitalism begins to grow, the ruling class may need to use force to maintain control. However,
the use of force needs to be legitimate or it may provoke even more widespread resistance.
The focus of sociologists on crime and ethnicity has traditionally been on offending; however,
recently the focus of the debate has shifted to look at the racist victimisation of ethnic minorities.
The police recorded 61,000 racist incidents in England and Wales in 2006/7 which was mostly
damage to property or verbal harassment. Cases such as the Stephen Lawrence case does not only
highlight a racial attack on a minority by white offenders, but it also identifies the racism within
the criminal justice system and officers working on the case. Differences could also be due to
other factors such as being unemployed, young, male, however, these factors could be a result of

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We also need to understand the long term psychological impact of discrimination
and bullying may not be reported to the police.
Official statistics show that blacks and other ethnic minorities are more likely to be stopped,
arrested and imprisoned. This may be because they are more likely to offend or because of racism
in the criminal justice system, or because they are more likely to fall into the demographic groups
who are stopped. Self-report studies show lower offending rates among minorities than among
whites.…read more


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