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Flashcards in Ethnicity And Crime Deck (44):

According to official statistics, black people make up just 2.8% of the population, yet make up how much of the prison population?



According to the Ministry of Justice, what are three facts regarding the criminalisation of black people compared to white people?

1) Black people are 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people are
2) Black people are 3 and a half times more likely to be arrested than white people
3) Black people are 5 times more likely to be in prison than white people


In addition to official statistics, what a two other important sources that we can call upon to investigate ethnic differences in offending?

1) Victim surveys
2) Self-report studies


How do victim surveys help us gain information about ethnicity and offending?

They ask victims to identify the ethnicity of the person who committed the crime against them


Give an example of where black people are over-represented in victim surveys

In muggings


What do victim surveys show about crime? And give an example of how it shows this

That a great deal of it is intra-ethnic. E.g. According the the British Crime Survey, in 90% of crimes where the victim was white, at least one of the offenders was also white


What are three limitations of victim surveys?

1) They rely on the victim's memory of events. Evidence suggests that white victims may over-identify black people, saying that the offender was black even though they are not sure
2) They only cover personal crimes, which only make up about 1/5 of all crimes
3) They exclude under 16s - minority ethnic groups contain a higher proportion of younger people


How do self-report studies help us to investigate ethnicity and offending?

They ask individuals to disclose their own violent and dishonest behaviour


Based on a sample of 2,500 people, what did Graham and Bowling find?

That blacks and whites had very similar rates of offending, while Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis had much lower rates


What did Sharp and Budd note that the 2003 Offending, Crime and Justice survey of 12,000 people found?

That whites and those of 'mixed' ethnic origins were most likely to say that they had committed an offence


What did Sharp and Budd find about ethnicity and drugs use from self-report studies?

That males of 'mixed' ethnic origin were most likely to admit to drug use (mostly cannabis), However, use of class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine was much higher among whites than blacks


What do the findings of self-report studies do?

Challenge the stereotype of black people as being more likely than whites to offend


By looking at official statistics self-report studies and victims surveys, what does this show us about the evidence on ethnicity and offending?

That it is inconsistent. Official statistics and victim surveys are likely to over-represent offending by blacks, however this is not the conclusion of self-report studies


Since the 1970s, what do Phillips and Bowling note about policing and ethnicity? Does this suggest police racism?

There have been many allegations of oppressing policing of minority ethnic communities, e.g. mass stop and search operations, excessive surveillance and police violence.
It does suggest police racism.


Give three reasons for how stop and search of ethnic minorities can be seen as racist

1) Black people are 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people
2) Statistics for 2006/7 show that Asians were over 3 times more likely to be stopped and searched than other people under the Terrorism Act
3) Members of these communities feel over-policed and under-protected


What are the 3 possible reasons for the disproportionate use of stop and search against members of ethnic minority groups? Explain each reason

1) Police racism - Phillips and Bowling point out that many officers hold negative stereotypes about ethnic minorities as criminal, leading to deliberate targeting for stop and search
2) Ethnic difference in offending - most likely that police act on differences in offending in low discretion stops, where they act on relevant information about a specific offence, e.g. a victim's description of the offender, than in a high discretion stop where the police act without specific intelligence, where the officers can use their stereotypes
3) Demographic factors - groups such as the young, the unemployed, manual workers and urban dwellers are the groups most likely to be stopped and searched, and they are also the groups that have a higher proportion of ethnic minorities in them.


What do figures about arrests and cautions say about ethnicity and racism in the criminal justice system? What contrasts with this evidence, and give a reason for it

In 2006/7, the arrest rate for blacks was 3.6 times more likely than it was for whites. However, once arrested, black were less likely than whites to receive a caution. One reason for this is that members of ethnic minorities may be more likely to deny the offence and exercise their right to legal advice, however this means that by not admitting the offence, they are more likely to be charged


How do studies show that the Crown Prosecution Service is not racist?

Studies suggest that the CPS is more likely to drop cases against ethnic minorities. Bowling and Phillips argue that this may be because the evidence presented to the CPS by the police is often weaker and based on stereotyping of ethnic minorities of criminals


What are ethnic minorities more likely to ask for in court that shows their mistrust in magistrates?

They are more likely to elect for trial before a jury


What is the difference in conviction regarding ethnicity and what does this suggest?

In 2006/7, a bigger percentage of white defendants were found guilty than black defendants. This suggests discrimination, in that the police and CPS may be bringing weaker or less serious cases against ethnic minorities that may be thrown out by the courts


What differences in sentencing between ethnicities were there?

Custodial sentences were given to a greater proportion of blacks than whites and whites were more likely than blacks to receive community service


What are the two main explanations for the ethnic differences n the statistics?

1) Left realism - the statistics represent real differences in the rate of offending
2) Neo-Marxism - the statistics are a social construct resulting from racist labelling and discrimination in the criminal justice system


What do left realists argue that racism has led to?

The marginalization and economic exclusion of ethnic minorities, who face higher levels of unemployment, poverty and poor housing


How do the left realists say that the media contributes to the relative deprivation of many ethnic minority groups?

It emphasises consumerism and promotes a sense of relative deprivation by setting materialistic goals that many members of minority groups cannot reach by legitimate means


What do left realists say is the response to the marginalization of ethnic minorities caused by racism and the relative deprivation caused by the media? What does this produce higher levels of?

The formation of delinquent subcultures. Tis produces higher evils of utilitarian crime as a means of dealing with the relative deprivation felt, and an increase in non-utilitarian crime to deal wit their frustration at being marginalised


How do left realists argue that the police cannot fully make up the difference in the statistics, even though they recognise racist police attitudes?

Over 90% of crimes known to the police are reported by members of the public rather than discovered by the police themselves. Under these circumstances, it is unlikely that the police can adequately account for the ethnic differences in the statistics


How do left realists argue that the police cannot be responsible for the difference between minorities in offending in terms of police racism?

Because the police would have to be very selective about their racism if this was to be the case


What do left realists conclude is the reason for differences in offending between ethnic groups?

Real differences in the levels of relative deprivation and marginalization


How have left realists been criticised?

1) Police may stereotype blacks as dangerous and Asians as passive, suggesting that the differences in offending between minorities could be down to police racism


What are the two Neo-Marxist explanations for the difference in the official statistics?

1) Gilroy's myth of black criminality
2) Hall et at: policing the crisis


What do Neo-Marxists say is the reason for the differences in offending in official statistics?

The differences are the outcome of a process of social construction that stereotypes ethnic minorities as inherently more criminal than the majority population


Explain Gilroy's myth of black criminality

- Black criminality is a myth created by racist stereotypes of African Caribbeans and Asians
- In reality, these groups are no more criminal than any other
- As a result of racist attitudes and policing, ethnic minorities come to be more criminalised and therefore appear in greater numbers in the official statistics


In Gilroy's view, what can ethnic minority crime be seen as?

A form of political resistance against a racist society, and this resistance has its roots in early British imperialism


Explain how Gilroy argues that black and Asian crime originate from early British imperialism

- Most blacks and Asians in the UK originated in the former British colonies, where their anti-imperialist attitudes taught them to resist oppression, e.g. rioting
- When they found themselves facing racism in Britain, they adopted the same forms of struggle to defend themselves
- Their struggle was criminalised by the British state


How do Lea and Young (left realists) criticise Gilroy? Give 3 criticisms.

1) First-generation immigrants were very law-abiding , so it is unlikely that they passed down a tradition of anti-colonial struggle to their children
2) Most crime is intra-ethnic, so it can't be seen as anti-colonial struggle against racism
3) Asian crime rates are too similar to or lower than whites. It seems unlikely that the police only be racist towards blacks


How do Hall et al explain the differences in offending in official statistics?

- They argue that the 1970s saw a moral panic over black 'muggers' that served the interests of the capitalist class
- In the early 1970s, high flatiron and unemployment were provoking industrial unrest and strike
- At such times, when opposition to capitalism begins to grow, the ruling class may need to use force to regain control, however the 1970s saw the emergence of a media driven moral panic of a new crime mugging, which was soon to be associated with black youth
- The myth of the black mugger served as a scapegoat to distract attention away from the true cause of problems, such as unemployment


How do Hall et al see black crime as, other than as a product of the media and police labelling?

As a product of unemployment because of the capitalist crisis, the crime rate of black youths was actually rising


What are three criticisms of Hall et al?

1) Hall et al are inconsistent in claiming that black street crime was not rising, but that it was also rising because of unemployment
2) They do not show how the capitalist society led to a moral panic
3) Left realists argue that fears about mugging are not panicky, but are realistic


What are racist incidents?

Any incident perceived to be racist by the victim or another person


What are racially or religiously aggravated offences?

Assault, wounding, criminal damage and harassment, where the offender is motivated by a hostility towards members of a racial or religious group


What did the 2006/7 British Crime Survey show about ethnicity and victimisation?

That people of 'mixed' ethnicity were at more risk of becoming victims of crime than white,ps, blacks and Asians


What may the differences in ethnicity and victimisation be down to?

Ethnic groups with a higher proportion of young males are likely to have higher rates of victimisation


What do Sampson and Phillips note about ethnicity and victimisation?

Racist victimisation tends to be ongoing over time, with repeat 'minor' instances of abuse and harassment interwoven with periodic indictments of physical violence


Name some ways in which members of ethnic minorities have been active in responding to victimisation

Fireproof doors and letter boxes, to organised self-defence campaigns aimed at physically defending neighbourhoods from racist attacks