Ethnicity in Sociology
Ethnicity in Sociology
-Much greater levels of police stop and search on young black African-Caribbean males, than whites. -After attack on World Trade Center in 2001 and London Underground bombings in 2005, a new discourse has emerged regarding Muslim Youths. -The new image of them is of being dangerous- a threat to British culture. Offending -There are 3 ways on gathering statistics on ethnicity and crime: official stats, victimization studies and self-report studies. -According to Home Office statistics, about 9. 5% of people arrested were recorded as ‘Black’ and 5. 3% ‘Asian’ (similar rating to white).
This means that, relative to the population as a whole, black people are 3x more likely than whites to be arrested. -However, these stats could be seen as a comment on the actions of the police. – some sociologists argue there is institutional racism in police. -Offenders are most likely to be young males aged between 14 and 25. Any ethnic group with a high proportion of this age group within it will have relatively high arrest rates. The British black pop has high rates, and so it would be expected that they’d have high arrest rates too because of this. -Stats show that Black Youth are more likely to be unemployed or in low paid jobs.
Victimizing studies -Victim-based studies (British Crime Survey) are gathered by asking victims of crime for their recollection of the ethnic identity of the offender. -According to the British Crime Survey, the majority of crime is intraracial, with 88% of white victims stating that white criminals were involved, 3% claiming offenders were black, 1%Asian, 5% mixed. -About 42% of crimes against Black victims were identified as black offenders and 19% of crime against Asian were Asians. -The figure of white crimes AGAINST ethnic minorities are much higher – 50% (though 90% of pop is white).
-However only 20% of survey-recorded crimes are ‘peronal’ such as theft, where the victim may actually be able to identify the offender. – Bowling and Phillips argue that victims are influenced by racial stereotypes and ‘culturally determined expectations’ as to who commits crime.
Their research shows that where the offender is not known, White people are more likely to describe those of African-Caribbean background. Self-Report Studies- asked in anonymous questionnaires to see what offences people commit -Graham and Bowlings study for the Home Office of 14 to 25 year olds, found that the self-reported offending rates were more or less the same for the White, Black and Asian respondants. However, Blacks are 3. 6 x more likely to be arrested (Jones and Singer).
Sentencing -After arrest, Affro-Carbs are slightly more likely to be held in custody and to be charged with more serious offences than Whites. But they are more likely to plead, and be found ‘not guilty’ -Bowling and Phillips state that these stats indicate that that both direct and indirect discrimination (types of charges laid, accsess to bail etc) against members of ethnic
minorities do exist. -For example, Those of African-Caribbean backgrounds have a 17% higher chance of imprisonment than whites. Punishment -According to Jones and Singer the proportion of Black British background took 19% of total prison population. Racist Policing -Most sociologists ie Mayhew et al a rgue that most crime is committed by young males who come from a poor background.
-The ‘canteen culture’ approach argues that police officers have developed distinctive working values as a result of their job. The core characteristics of this culture according to Reiner include a thirst for action, cynicism, macho values and racism becasude they often feel pressure/work long hours/face public scrutiny etc. -Studies by Smith and Gray (who himself was a policeman) showed racist views by the police force and they targeted blacks.
Institutional Racism -After the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, the Macpherson Report was set up to look at the circumstances of his death and handling of the situation by the police. Sir William Macpherson said ‘police had procedures, practices and a culture that tended to exclude or disadvantage non-white people’.
Left-realist approach -Lea and Young accept that there are racist practices by the police but argue that despite this, the statistics do bear out a higher crime rate for street robberies and associated ‘personal crimes’ by youths of Affro-carb backgrounds. -They explain this by suggesting British society is racist and that young ethnic minorities are economically and socially marginalized (pushed out of society), with lesser chances of success than majority of population. Cultures of Resistance -Because minority groups have been discriminated against (colonialism etc) leaving them in a lower socioeconomic position compared to whites, a culture of resistance formed.
-COF = organized resistance that has its origins from anticolonial struggles. Ie when young offenders commit crime they are doing it as a political art rather than a criminal act. -However Lea et al argues that this doesn’t account for the high proportion of Black on Black crime. -Fitzgerald et al = street crime is caused by deprivation, lack of community -Higher crime in lone-parent fams -Justifications among crime such as l=bad education, alienation from schools etc.
Subject: United Kingdom,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 16 December 2016
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