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May 11, 2018 / C H Thompson

Crime as a political act – revision notes with evaluation

Paul Gilroy

  • Gilroy (1982) argues, in his book ‘There ain’t no Black in the Union Jack’, how the idea of black criminality is a myth
  • and these groups such as African Caribbean’s are no more criminal than anyone else.
  • Gilroy argues, criminal statistics are a manifestation of racial stereotypes, which frame African Caribbean’s as ‘other’, being acted upon by police and the criminal justice system,
  • examples are Asians being illegal immigrants and African Caribbean’s being muggers – more recently we have the Windrush Scandal
  • This results in ethnic minorities appear more frequently in the official statistics.

Gilroy views black crime is a form of resistance through ‘criminal acts’ as a political action expressing their resistance to social inequality and discrimination.


However Gilroy has been criticised:

(-) Black crime is often committed against other black people, so surely it can’t be struggle against racism?

(-) Lea and Young argued that the majority of crimes are reported by the public and not uncovered by the police, suggesting that it might be that the general public is racist and not the police that are racist.

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