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Crime and Deviance: Assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in the patterns of crime and deviance.

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Crime and Deviance: Assess sociological explanations of ethnic differences in the patterns of crime and deviance. Statistics show that there is a profound difference in crime rates between black people and white people, they are over represented in prisons and they fear crime more than white people. Sociologists have many explanations for these findings some suggesting that they are accurate and try to explain why, others that assume they are inaccurate and try to explain how. The traditional approaches such as Shaw and McKay in 1931 believed that the statistics were correct and tried to explain why. They linked racial minorities and crime simply because they were more likely to live in areas that were socially disorganised. Messner also looks along the lines of location and believes that black people live in areas of social deprivation and that this frustrates them so they turn to crime as a way of getting out of the deprivation. ...read more.


In 40% of cases the victim cannot describe the race of a non-white, they cannot identify between Indian, African or Chinese offenders. They believe that ethnic minority criminals are more likely to be less favourably treated in courts by the judge and jury, also they are more likely to get longer sentences and are six times more likely to end up in prison. Smith in '97 disagrees with this view and says that the proportion of black people at the beginning of the legal system is the same as at the end. Another approach is the combined approach, as it suggests it uses a combination of approaches to try to explain ethnic differences in patterns of crime. It combines critical criminology and sub-cultures with the ideas of economic marginalisation, they say that the capitalist system has failed the ethnic minorities and that this marginalisation is made to be ideological as well as it is a capitalist strategy to produce subservient cheap reserve labour. ...read more.


He also suggests that many beliefs about black criminality are myths created by the capitalist society and extreme police bias. Gilroy's views have attracted strong criticism from John Lea and Jock Young, especially the police bias theory, as 92% of crimes known to police are brought to their attention by members of the public. Post modernists criticise many of the modernist theories in that they say modernist theories emphasise the sameness of criminals where as differences should be emphasised. They reject an all-embracing truth. Also they say that modernists use their own discourse, which prevents ethnic minorities from being understood. Many of these theories don't explain why only a small number of black people turn to crime or why it is mainly young males who commit crime nor do they examine differences in class, therefore in conclusion many are lacking in explanations and so cannot fully explain the differences in crime statistics between black and white people. ...read more.

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