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May 11, 2018 / C H Thompson

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

Lea and Young 

  • As already discussed, Lea and Young adopt a left realist position
  • they want to tackle the causes of crime, and agree with the argument that ethnic minorities commit more crime.
  • As already covered in Left Realism, Lea and Young identified the three causes of crime; relative deprivation, subculture, and marginalisation.
  • They argue racism in society has marginalised ethnic minorities, causing them to face higher levels of unemployment and poor housing,
  • resulting in ethnic minorities increasingly suffering from relative deprivation
  • a response to such a situation, for ethnic minorities, can be the formation of delinquent subcultures, which often commit utilitarian crimes.

Lea and Young also notice that the police often cause unjustified criminalisation by acting in racist ways.

  • However they also argue that the differences between minorities can’t be explained or justified through police racism.
  • In order for this to be the case, the police would have to be very specific about their racism and all share similar if not the same views on what ethnicity to criminalise.



(+) They explain all crimes committed against each other, not just crimes of political action.

(+) They look into the greater causes of crime rather than just focusing in onto one specific cause.

(-) Right realists would reject this theory as they argue that we need to focus on the criminal rather than the causes of crime


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