Ethnicity and Crime

1008 Words4 Pages
Why are some "ethnic minorities", but not others, over-represented in patterns of arrest and imprisonment in the UK? To what extent is this attributed to discrimination? Race has been generally redefined by social scientists as a "pseudo-scientific" concept, and one that is rooted in racist ideology (Phillips and Bowling, 2007, p. 422). Yet equally as problematic are the statistics showing that there are a disproportionate number of black people in prison in the UK: 11% of the prison population but only 2% of the population of Great Britain (Phillips and Bowling, 2007). Discrimination may be to blame for the disproportionate numbers of black Britons in prison. Phillips and Bowling (2007) note that the experience of discrimination, including stigmatization, has increased significantly since the terrorist attacks of September 11. Racist ideology is the root cause of the disproportionate number of persons of color apprehended and incarcerated. The racist ideology is systemic, and is practically built into the fabric of British society. Phillips and Bowling (2007) note that phrenology and other pseudo-sciences led to erroneous generalizations about the shape of people's heads and their propensity to commit crimes. Of course, the physical characteristics also happened to correspond to people of color, including "darker skin" and "curly hair," (cited by Phillips and Bowling 2007, p. 422). Xenophobia was not necessarily confined to fear of dark people. Phillips and Bowling
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