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May 11, 2018 / C H Thompson

Left-realism and ethnic minority crime – revision notes with evaluative points

Labelling theory

  • The interactionist labelling theory created by Becker argued that ethnic minorities aren’t actually more criminal than white people,
  • they are just more likely to be labelled as criminal due to a racist police force and Criminal Justice system.
  • Riener suggested that there is a racist ‘canteen culture’ among the police force, which encourages racist stereotypes.
  • Bowling and Phillips (2002) point out that many officers hold negative stereotypes against ethnic minority criminals, which in turn leads to a targeted stop and search on the polices part against ethnic minorities.
  • They also found that there were high levels of robbery among black criminals.
  • Bowling and Phillips suggested that this was a product of labelling arising from the use of stop and search procedures used by the police.

The pattern of crime shown in self-report studies

  • In self-report studies where people have reported their offences with confidentiality has shown a greater insight into the pattern of offending than that shown by official statistics.
  • It has been shown in the 2003 Offending, Crime and Justice Survey, how caucasians had the highest rate of offending,
  • with African Caribbean’s less likely to offended than white people, which contrasts with official statistics.

The Criminal Justice System and Discrimination

  • It has been suggested by Sharp ad Budd (2005) have suggested that black offenders are more likely to have been arrested, gone to court and convicted, despite their lower levels of offending.
  • This suggests that minority ethnic groups aren’t treated fairly within the criminal justice system in comparison to white offenders.
  • The evidence showing that white people tend to be the highest group of offenders, yet black criminality shows up more on the official statistics suggests that there is some sort of racism within the criminal justice system.


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