On The Ground with The Good Earth


My name is Shannon and I am currently an ‘on the ground promoter’ working on Motherlode’s The Good Earth. That means that I am helping to spread the word to as many people as possible about this show which tours Wales in September.

Motherlode’s tagline is Tireless New Theatre, Made in Wales.  I saw the last run of rehearsals for ‘The Good Earth’ at Park & Dare Theatre in Treorchy last week. I feel extremely lucky to be working to engage people in the Cardiff area and to have got the chance to watch the performance just before it went on tour to New York. I’m delighted to help spread the word about this production; the themes that it touches on evokes awareness on what has affected Wales as a country in the past and its reaction to moments of hardship. It is an important message of strength and unity, especially during a time when we seem to be so divided.

The Good Earth’ echoes concerns over the threat to the Welsh identity and community with its close relation to the Aberfan and Tryweryn tragedies. The play made me feel nostalgic about situations I’ve never personally experienced, and empathetic for the characters’ cause to maintain the integrity of their way of life. It reminded me of Wales’s role in modern Britain, and how drastically that has developed over the years. It was the backlash against apathetic and unjust authorities that helped to fuel the surge of Welsh nationalism that we see today.

The singing, though not appearing to be its fundamental feature, significantly intensified the mood of the play. It had a meditative effect. Kudos to the actors for managing to convey the emotions of deeply relevant issues in many Welsh communities. I am so excited to see the show alongside a Welsh audience when it returns from NYC.

Further information on The Good Earth 2016


The Interactionist labelling theory/Y damcaniaeth labelu Rhyngweithiol (En/Cy)

English version/fersiwn Saesneg:

The labelling theory belongs to the Interactionists. They believe that nobody is naturally deviant (an idea that conflicts with the New Right), but become deviant when labelled as such, and whatever label this may be has a profound influence on the individual’s actions. Interactionists focus on the individual’s response to their label(s); this is what distinguishes them from other social theorists, such as the Functionalists, who tend to focus their attention on what leads the individual to deviance in the first place.

Lemert developed the labelling theory. The argued that deviance could be split into two separate groups – primary and secondary. The former is referenced to deviance which does not gain the attention of the public, and therefore does not receive a label. The latter, on the other hand, means actions which does receive a label from society, similarly, Howard Becker puts forth the notion that the term deviance does not actually exist, “Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label”, and, “an act only becomes deviant when people define it as such”. He therefore implies that an action has to be labelled as deviant for it to actually become one, because the term itself is socially constructed.

As it is socially constructed, the environment surrounding the situation, including where, when and for which reasons it has occurred, decide if the action is deviant. Often times, the proses of stigmatisation will occur if something is considered deviant, and the action itself will be thereby associated with a bad label. Sometimes the label works like the ‘master status’, which takes over every other label. Examples of this include thieves, prostitutes and homosexuals (this is considered deviant in many cultures).  All the negative connotations of that label are usually thrusted onto the individual. The Interactionist Jock Young supports Becker’s work through his research into Hippy culture. Smoking weed was not considered to be a priority for these groups, until the negative attention from the public and the police.

According to Cooley and his “looking glass self” theory, people tend to see themselves how other people perceive and react to them. The label works as a self-fulfilling prophecy to control people; often, they will start to act to live up to the label, and thus starting a ‘deviant career’, meaning that certain individuals will start to revolve their lives around deviance and/or crime. The activity, therefore, will turn into a social role.

The Sociologist Stan Cohen pointed out in his ‘moral panic’ thesis on the subject of the labelling theory, that subcultures are the most exposed to this process. To start, Cohen suggested that the public would take notice of an activity taking place. An example would be, according to his study, the Mods and Rockers of 1960’s England. As a result of this, agencies of formal and informal control would react to it. The media often amplifies deviance and exaggerates a particular event to make the story more newsworthy, and thus selling more newspapers and generating more profit, although this has negative effects on society. Members of society would start to be wary of specific symbols and icons, and view them as troublemakers. Then, they would overstate the situation by expecting more trouble, and thereby redefining the issue by creating moral panic as a reaction to deviance. Additionally, this may necessitate police officers to target specific groups, meaning that the labelling theory would rotate once again.

To reiterate, the labelling theory plays a significant role within society if we take into account its effect on individuals. Labels may have a positive and negative effect on individuals, and is completely dependent on the situation, or even if the action is labelled by society in the first place.

Welsh version/fersiwn Cymraeg:

Mae’r theori labelu yn perthyn i’r Rhyngweithwyr. Credon nhw fod neb yn wyrdroëdig yn naturiol, ond yn wydredig o dan label, a’r label sy’n ddylanwad mawr ar ymddygiad unigolyn (mae hyn yn gwrthddweud credoau’r Dde Newydd). Mae’r Rhyngweithwyr yn ffocysu ar ymateb yr unigolyn i’r label, ac i’r gwrthwyneb, lle mae’r Swyddogaethwyr yn ffocysu ar beth sy’n arwain at yr unigolyn i fod yn wydredig yn y lle cyntaf.

Datblygwyd y syniad o label gan Lemert. Mae gwyredd yn rhannu i ddau grŵp gwahanol, sef gwyredd cynradd ac eilradd. Mae gwyredd cynradd yn cyfeirio at wyredd nad sy’n derbyn sylw’r cyhoedd ac felly nid oes ganddo label. Mae gwyredd eilradd, ar y llaw arall, yn golygu gweithred sy’n derbyn label gan y gymdeithas. Yn debyg, soniodd Howard Becker nad yw’r term gwyredd yn bodoli, “Deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label”, ac, “an act only becomes deviant when people define it as such”. Awgrymir felly, rhaid i weithred cael ei enwi’n gwyredd er mwyn iddo fod yn wyredd, gan fod y term ei hun yn enghraifft o luniad cymdeithasol.

Gan ei fod yn lluniad cymdeithasol, mae’r amgylchiadau o gwmpas y sefyllfa, megis ble, pryd, ac am ba resymau, yn penderfynu os yw gweithred yn gwyredig. Yn aml bydd y proses o stigmateiddio yn digwydd os caiff rhywbeth ei labelu’n gwyredig, a chysylltwyd y weithred â label gwael. Weithiau bydd y label yn gweithio fel “Statws Meistr” ac yn cymryd dros bob label arall, megis lleidr, person hoyw, person ag iselder a llofruddwr. Cysylltwyd yr holl dermau negyddol sy’n perthyn i’r label i’r unigolyn. Mae’r Rhyngweithwyr Jock Young yn atgyfnerthu gwaith Becker trwy eu astudiaeth o ‘Hippies’ pwy oedd yn ysmygu cyffuriau. Nid oedd y gweithgaredd hyn yn arwyddocâd iddynt nes i’r cyfryngau a’r heddlu targedu nhw.

Yn ôl Cooley, yn ei ddamcaniaeth “through the looking-glass self”, mae pobl yn gweld eu hunain yn y ffordd mae pobl eraill yn ymateb iddynt. Mae’r label yn gweithio fel proffwydoliaeth hunan gyflawni i reoli’r unigolyn – byddent yn ddechrau ymddwyn fel y label, fel arfer, a dechrau gyrfa gwyredig, sy’n golygu bydd pobl yn ddechrau byw eu bywydau yn uniongyrchol i droseddu. Bydd y gweithgaredd, felly, yn troi i mewn i rôl gymdeithasol.

Sonnir Stanley Cohen yn ei damcaniaeth o banig moesol ynglŷn â’r theori label, yn bennaf ymysg isddiwylliannau. I ddechrau, bu’r cyhoedd yn cymryd sylw o’r gweithgaredd, ac esiampl o hyn yw’r Mods a Rockers y chwedegau. Fel canlyniad o hyn, bydder asiantaethau yn ymateb i’r gweithgaredd, megis y cyfryngau. Bydd y cyhoedd yn aml yn helaethu gwyredd i werthu papurau, sydd yn creu ganlyniadau gwael ar y gymdeithas. Bydd y gymdeithas yn gweld symbolau penodol fel eiconau o achoswyr trwbl. Yna, byddent yn gorliwio’r sefyllfa ac yn rhagweld mwy o drwbl, a chrëwyd panig moesol fel ymateb i’r gwyredd, sy’n ailddiffinio’r broblem. Hefyd, efallai bydd hyn yn achosi i’r heddlu i orymateb a thargedu grwpiau penodol o bobl, a bydd y theori label yn cylchdroi eto.

I grynhoi, mae’r theori labelu yn chwarae rôl hanfodol o fewn y gymdeithas, gan ystyried ei ddylanwad ar yr unigolyn. Gall y label effeithio person yn negyddol ac mewn ffordd cadarnhaol, sy’n hollol ddibynnol ar y sefyllfa, neu hyd yn oed os yw’r gweithred yn cael ei labelu gan y gymdeithas yn y lle cyntaf.

Assessment on the belief that social prejudice is the root of all inequality

Inequality exists in all societies, in some form or another, and Marxists support the idea that the root of all inequality is social class prejudice. This is based on the Marxist conflicting theory, and the fundamental belief is that the ‘Bourgeoisie’ (the ruling class) use the capitalist economy in order to exploit and oppress the ‘Proletariat’ (the working-class). Aristocrats enjoy their economic advantage and the power they have over their workers, and thus they treat them badly to ensure that the system stays as it is. They have influence on culture and on everyday life in communities because their control of the social infrastructure influences the social superstructure, such as the media, the schooling system and social services. Contemporary evidence suggests that this has a level of truth because Rupert Murdoch has been condemned for influencing the media to favour the Conservative party for his own political and economic gains. It is the superstructure that is responsible for reinforcing inequality through primary and secondary socialisation, according to Marxists.

The working-class do not react to this because they are in a state of “fake awareness”, which means that they are ignorant of the realistic situation by being led to believe that society is a meritocracy. Althusser once stated that schools are “big machines that create myths”, and one belief is that society is meritocratic. The “ideological state apparatus”, meaning the social superstructure that controls ideas and beliefs, for instance the media, is what is what reinforces these states of misdirected understanding.

One area where there is evidence of social inequality is in education. According to the ‘Department of Education and Skills’, there is a link between social class and academic achievement. In 2005, for instance, 76% of children from professional backgrounds achieved to get five or more GCSE’s between A*-C, compared to about 32% of students from non-academic backgrounds. Despite the fact that each child’s grades have been gradually improving over the years, the gap continues to widen and the social class inequalities in academic achievement is more obvious than ever. These statistics reinforce the clear link between cultural/material capital and achievement in schools.

Bowles and Gintis are of the opinion that children, especially the ones from poorer backgrounds, learn obedience to the unfair system, and accept the fact that they are powerless. They argue that schools reinforce inequality through encouraging children to remain in their social classes, for instance, by openly assuming that poorer will end up in low-payed jobs, and in the same sense, expecting kids from richer backgrounds to achieve professional jobs, such as in business. In his study of “Lads and Ear’oles” in the 70s, the sociologist Paul Willis learnt of differing opinions and perspectives amongst male students from both social classes. He came to the conclusion that children from working class backgrounds tended to have a negative opinion of school and were much more likely to mess around in class. In the end, they tended to have far less school achievement than their richer counterparts, and were much more likely to accept working-class jobs and statuses.

Another area where there is evidence of social inequality is in the health sector. According to the ‘World Health Organisation’, men from the most deprived areas of Britain tended to have nine fewer years of life in comparison to men from the richest areas. There is seven years difference for the female equivalent between the richest and the poorest communities. The general assumption in science is that they usually have worse diets, because they have less money to spend on healthy food and usually have a worse understanding of nutrition. These factors can increase the likelihood of obesity, and other eating disorders. In some cases, this can lead to school bullying, which would mean that they were more distracted from their academic subjects. Complications of health can also lead to mental illnesses, such as depression, which often leads to the same conclusions as bullying. Wilkinson supports this crucial link by stating that there is a relationship that can be measured between poor health and yearly income. In the ‘General Home Inspection’ of 1999, 32% of working-class families had stated that they had at least one member suffering from chronic illnesses, in comparison to 12.5% of those from families who has professional careers. Not being able to afford prescriptions poses as a threat for the working class in securing good health. Though this is only applicable to England, as Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have free prescriptions. Some individuals are of the opinion that private healthcare offer better treatment (though this is entirely subjective), and if we hypothetically consider this to be true, this puts the poorer communities under a disadvantage because they do not have an equal access to top-quality health services like the richest communities.

Social injustices can explain fewer achievements amongst people from ethnic minorities in the education system and in society as a whole. There is an unfair percentage of ethnic minority prisoners who also experience material and cultural deprivation. About 49% of all prisoners are black (‘Prison Reform Trust’), and around 57% of Afro-Caribbean families are single parent, compared to about 23% of ethnically white families.  Generally, children from ethnic minority groups tend to underperform academically, and a larger proportion of them receive free school meals (‘FSM’). 38% of Pakistani children receive FSM, including %*% of Bangladeshis, 26% of Afro-Caribbean students and 41% of ethnically black African students. In the workplace, Afro-Caribbean people tend to experience the least amount of social mobility and have high unemployment rates. This may explain the crime rates – this is according to Merton’s ‘strain theory’, where people commit crime because of status frustration. Simple survival tactics would be another reason for many individuals turning towards crime. Therefore, people from ethnic minority groups tend to do worse in school because they are more likely to come from more disadvantaged backgrounds. They are more likely to turn towards crime for the same reasons.

Many Feminist Marxist are of the opinion that social inequality can also be heavily associated with gender inequality. They believe that women are portrayed to be inferior in the capitalist economy, and Margaret Benston develops this argument further by stating that the role of women in the capitalist system is to mainly do domestic chores for free and to nurture the workers of the futures, who will contribute to the economy themselves later on in life. To extend on this point, many believe that women are merely “second-hand workers”. The Second World War (1939-1945) would be shining evidence of this. It is where women took over the jobs of their husbands who went to war. Though it must be remembered that society on a whole has modernised since this period, so it would be relatively hard making legitimate comparisons between the two. Also, Feminist Marxists believe that women still face the “glass ceiling”, which stops most of them from reaching the top jobs. Also in economically tough times, it is easier to get rid of women than men. Thus, if we consider this approach, it is easy to see the link between gender and class inequality.

Max Weber agreed on the fundamentals of Marxism, though many of his ideas differ greatly from Karl Marx’s. He, along with many of his followers, agreed that society was split into four different categories: ‘the Privileged’ – the ones at the top of society, ‘the petti Bourgeoisie’ – the businessmen and the self-employed, ‘the White Collar workers – the lower middle-class, and ‘the Blue Collar workers – the non-professional workers. Weber gave consideration towards social class, but they also put emphasis on the individual’s status and power in the community. To Weber, each of these factors are different, but to Marx, each were synonymous. Status refers to a person’s social position and the respect society has for them, whereas power refers to the individual’s membership to the formal and informal sections of society.

Weber’s ideas allows us to understand more about ethnic and gender inequality that exists in society, and these exist for reasons that aren’t necessarily associated only with class inequality. Instead they are example of status inequality. It also explains that status and power are effectively in the hands of the most populous ethnic group, and in the UK, that means for ethnically white people. This means that it is much harder for people from ethnic minorities to compete. This is why people from ethnic minorities are often associated with low-wage jobs, sub-standard quality of living, and disadvantaged communities. Officially, 70% of Bangladeshi children live in poverty (‘Poverty.org’), compared to about 60% of Pakistanis, 30% of the Indian and Afro-Caribbean community and 20% of ethnically white people.  Weberian theorists argue that even when people from ethnic minority backgrounds do the same job as white people, they don’t receive the same status. This is because the former groups often face more prejudice and discrimination by white workers because they see non-white workers as threats to their jobs. In consequence to this, people from ethnic minority groups suffer from status inequality as well as class prejudice.

The ‘dual market theory’ (another Weberian concept by Barron and Norris) splits society into two different sects: the primary and secondary labour markets. The former includes full-time professional jobs that require a lot of skills and experience, including lawyers and doctors. They argue that white males are the most likely to fit into this group. The latter sector is quite the antonym to the former. This group includes jobs that don’t require a high level of skills and experiences, for instance shop keepers and cleaners. This is the job market that is most associated with students, and it also has an unfair proportion of women and ethnic minorities. There is often less social mobility, so therefore it’s harder to find any promotions that offer a higher pay and status.  Barron and Norris argue that despite men being employed in both sectors, the majority find work in the primary sector. There are many theories that attempt to explain this. Firstly, women are far more likely to work more for less money. They are also less likely to be committed to their jobs for familial and domestic circumstances, such as prioritising housework and caring for children. Women also tend to be less organised with their work. Therefore, Barron and Norris argue that status inequality is to blame.

Another Weberian approach is by Rex and Thompson, who argue that ethnic minorities often deal with more class and status inequality, and this is worsened by racism. In London alone, black people are 28 times more likely than white people to be ‘stopped and searched’ by police. The police are more likely to target ethnic minorities because of “canteen culture”, which is a term that was created by Reiner to refer to beliefs and prejudices within the police force). Alas, this leads to a wider spread of social exclusion and frustration amongst ethnic minorities. Rex and Thompson believe that subcultures, with an unfair proportion of black people, form as a result of social prejudice and injustice.

Weberian theorists believe that it is possible to associate gender inequality and status inequality. In reference to the gender pay gap, women generally earn 40% less than their male counterparts. This is most probably because there is a higher proportion of women working in the secondary labour market. Additionally, women are more likely to work in the public sector, such as carers and teachers, where the wages are considerably less than the private sector. Women also have a different status in the work environment. What ‘Boundless’ say is that women are far more likely to experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Therefore, we see that social inequality is not necessarily the root of all inequality, though undeniably is does have a role.

Many Feminists tend to disagree to an extent with Marxism. Radical Feminists mainly believe that society is a patriarchy that is split between men and women. They also believe that domestic abuse is a tool by the male population to oppress and control women, and that it reflects their societal power. Around 1.4 million women experience domestic abuse yearly (‘The Guardian’) – though the counterargument of that would be that more than 40% of domestic abuse victims are male (also ‘The Guardian’). Furthermore, domestic workloads tend to vary according to gender. Unemployed women spend on average 57 hours on domestic chores (Walker and Woods), and very recent research has uncovered that employed women also spend roughly the same amount as unemployed women spend. The majority of that time is spent looking after children. Ann Oakley, a renowned feminist, says ‘In only a small number of marriages is the husband notably domesticated… home and children are the woman’s primary responsibility.’ Therefore domestic work is very often considered a female role, rather than a male one.

Thus, as the Weberian concepts that have been addressed, vertical and horizontal discrimination exists, according to Feminists.

Vertical discrimination: the differences in status and income between men and women.

Horizontal discrimination: channelling people to take up jobs on the basis of their gender. An example of this is where a man would be encouraged to find a competitive career, yet often allows a higher income and higher opportunities of social mobility.

Therefore Feminists disagree with Marxist beliefs about social inequality and its root in society, especially as a catalyst for many other forms of discrimination.

Postmodernists also disagree with Marxists about discrimination. Waters, a popular Postmodernist, believes that the social classes are diminishing as a legitimate symbol of personality. Instead, how we, as individuals, spend our time and money and our ideas about society is central to our identities. No one is forced into a particular lifestyle (with exceptions) any longer because of the recent rise in living standards. The rise in the popularity of leisurely sports, like baseball, in the 1920’s US would be a classic example of this. And the idea that our culture has become freer as a result of raised living standards is undoubtedly plausible, yet it contrasts greatly to fundamental Marxism, Weberianism, Feminism, and to a lesser extent, Functionalists.

The Functionalist approach to discrimination is different to that of Postmodern and Marxist concepts as they argue that social stratification exists on purpose as it is beneficial to society, which is meritocratic. Social stratification is a ranking system that is based on moral judgments. This is grounded on: respect, supremacy, social distinctions, approval and disproval. The modern social strata reflects the normative consensus, and what society considers to be valuable. And therefore, as Davis and Moore suggest, the top jobs should, and are, given to the most intelligent and skilled workers because they are more of a use to society.

On a whole, many theories exist that attempt to explain social inequality and injustice. We have, on one hand, Marxist concepts who argue that social inequality and the struggle between the rich and the poor is the greatest example of discrimination to be seen, and other approaches see it as an issue that is a lot more intricate than the Marxists believe it to be. And the Functionalists see it not as a huge issue at all.

Is the British Criminal Justice System institutionally racist? / Hiliaeth sefydliadol o fewn y System Cyfiawnder Troseddol? English and Welsh translations.

English / Saesneg:

There are strong implications that ethnic minorities in Britain, particularly the black community, get treated a lot more unfairly by the Justice System. For instance, the number of black prisoners counts for 13% on a whole, where the population of the black community counts for only 2.8%. Similarly, 5.8% of our society belong to the Asian community (for instance, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian etc.), but 7.9% of all prisoners are Asian too. These statistics are comparable with the underrepresentation of white people in prison: 88% of us are white, but prison consists of 73% of white ethnicity. This tells us that ethnic minority groups (EMG’s) are hugely overrepresented in the prison system. On one hand, a lot of sociologists do consider this to be a matter of institutional racism, but other possible explanations need to be explored in order to come to a full conclusion.

Institutional racism is a term that refers to prejudice and racial bias in a social system, in this case, the police would be an example. “Institutional racism is about stereotyping; it is about ignorance… it is about seeing black people as a problem and it is about White pretence” (Grieve and French). Thus, for these reasons, the police are much more likely to target black people, and they’re much more likely to be “stopped and searched” by the police. The ‘Youth Justice Board’ (YJB) support this claim through their research into the overrepresentation of young people from EMG’s in crime. Between 2003-4, they counted as 2/5 of every case of stop and searches, particularly amongst the younger generation. In London alone, black males are 28% more likely to be stopped and searched than any other ethnic group.

Then again, demographic reasons offer an explanation for this. The population of EMG’s appears to be younger. In fact, 40% of the black community are under 16, compared to 35% of Pakistanis and only 20% of white people (National Statistics, 2005). But to reinforce my former point, Smith, Gray and Holdaway argue that the police follow old stereotypes of people from EMG’s and target them as potential suspects as a result. Many sociologists are doubtful of this because of the victim’s prejudice, so essentially the police only target these particular groups because they are who the public tend to report.

The term “Canteen Culture” was coined by an ex-police officer named Reyner and is used to describe racism within the police force. He believes that racial prejudice and sexism is bred and nurtured within the police force because they arguably need to adopt these feelings in order to be part of the “rank”. These ideas are morphed into the police system because they tend to work long hours in a stressful work setting, so for many people, negative influences are often hard to ignore.

What the Metropolitan police say is that racism within the police force is a mere reflection of the racism in society as a whole. Macpherson reinforces this idea by saying that the vast majority of police officers are white males, which allows racism because it does not reflect Britain’s multicultural society. Exactly 10% of the police force come from EMG backgrounds. Even Sir Anthony Burden of the South Wales Police agreed with this, ““I would be the first to accept that for 150 years, we have been a white male organisation”.

Not only that but the police tend to target areas with a higher population of people with ethnic minority backgrounds. Yet many sociologists argue against this theory by saying that the police are only hardening the targets and has no link whatsoever with racial bias.

The organisation ‘Crime Concern’ reiterates this idea that black males are much more likely to be thrown into the justice system because of their overrepresentation in risk groups, for instance, poverty, educational failures, mental health and a lack of positive role models. Statistics shows that people who experience poverty and deprivation, tend to be more inclined to commit a crime, respectively. In the same way, if these particular risk groups are tackled correctly, then it is likely that we would see the figures of overrepresentation fall. Merton states that people mainly commit crime because of status frustration, which could be linked to the amount of people from EMG who currently do tend to be a lot poorer than their white counterparts. So essentially, people from EMG are more likely to commit crimes because of the many problems they face in society, such as racism and poverty.

The ‘Race and Criminal Justice System’ states in their article that “black males are five times more likely to be imprisoned than white people”, and further investigations prove that black males and Asians are far more likely to receive immediate custody from the Court: 29% of Asians, 29% of black males and 22% of white males. These statistics should not be as it is if you consider the predominant population of the white community in Britain. It is evidence of the overrepresentation ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system. Then again, black males are statistically more likely to commit more serious crimes, so tougher treatment would seem logical in this sense.

Black criminals are more likely to receive fines and more community service compared to white people (Sharpe, 2005). Furthermore, a black magistrate once noted that black defendants were “more likely to receive harsh remarks, severe sentencing, disregard for personal mitigation, easy findings of guilt irrespective of evidence, most likely to refuse bale, and most likely to receive a sentence” (Bird, 2009). This outlines the idea that EMG are treated unjustly in comparison with white people.

There has been recent research into the probation system, and what was found was that there is a strong element of racial prejudice that is directed towards members of EMG, particularly towards the black community, “There has been a systematic failure to address issues of race and racial discrimination in an adequate but appropriate way” (Travis). Therefore racism is a factor exists, despite efforts for it to not be.

The labelling theory (Howard Becker, Interactionist), means that a person is never deviant until society labels him/her as one. This ties into the idea about the Criminal Justice System because everyone from any social group commit a crime, yet only a specific few are actually labelled as one. Often, people are labelled even if they’ve not committed any crime or act of deviance, and are only labelled because their identity is associated. For instance, an Asian may be called a “terrorist”, or a black person may be called a “drug dealer”. These labels have bad effects because it is likely that these targeted individuals can form a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, which means to live up to the label that has been given to them. Then again, this is not always the case because there has been a trend, though mainly female, who react to the unfair label by rebelling against it, and thus defeating the label. The police, specifically, react to these stereotypes by following them, according to Miller.

The Neo-Marxist Stuart Hall focuses on the labelling theory to explain the overrepresentation of black males in the Justice System, but instead of taking the Interactionist approach, he argues that people from ethnic minority groups use violence and crime as a frustrated response to institutional racism. They turn to racism as a way to survive in society, which could explain overrepresentation and the apparent racism of society as a whole.

The Left Realists contradict the labelling theory by stating that ethnic minority groups tend to commit more crime because of three main reasons: social exclusion, relative deprivation, where they feel rejected from society, and because of a lack of good role models, such as good parents. Therefore the Criminal Justice System is not necessarily to blame for the overrepresentation of ethnic minority groups, but there are other social factors which are (Lea and Young).

Of course, it’s obvious to us that institutional racism is still a problem within the Criminal Justice System after looking at the irrefutable evidence. Additionally, there are other factors that exist that explain the noticeably high statistics that I have mentioned before, such as poverty and academic failure. Yet institutional racism proves to be the overriding issue for many: 58% of black people feel that they’re treated unfairly by the police, compared to 41% of Indians, and 45% of Pakistanis. There’s a clear percentage who believe that they’re being mistreated by the Justice System.

The Criminal Justice System has, nevertheless, evolved to become more efficient in tackling racism in society, as a result, modernisation and efficiency. The police, in particular, have changed their tactics on dealing with racism efficiently and have become considerably more mindful and sensitive of it. Stephen Lawrence’s mother once stated that “The police made mistakes (in the past), but now they’ve learnt their lesson and they’ve not made the same mistake twice”.


Cymraeg / Welsh:

Mae awgrym cryf bod grwpiau ethnig, yn bennaf pobl groenddu, yn cael eu trin yn fwy llym gan y system cyfiawnder troseddol. Er enghraifft, mae canran o garcharwyr croenddu yn cyfri fel 13.2%, lle yn y gymdeithas, dim ond 2.8% o’r boblogaeth yn groenddu. Yn debyg, mae canran o garcharwyr Asiaidd yn cyfri fel 7.9%, lle dim ond 5.8% o’r boblogaeth Prydain yn Asiaidd. Mae modd gymharu hyn â phobl wen, gan fod dim ond 73% o garcharwyr ag ethnigrwydd gwyn, ac mae’r boblogaeth Prydain yn cynnwys 88% o bobl wen. Mae hyn yn dangos i ni fod grwpiau lleiafrifol ethnig yn cael eu gorgynrychioli o fewn y system cyfiawnder troseddol.  Ar un llaw, sonnir nifer o gymdeithasegwyr bod hyn yn adlewyrchu’r hiliaeth sefydliadol o fewn y system, ond hefyd nid oes modd anwybyddu’r rhesymau arall sy’n esbonio’r ystadegau.

Mae hiliaeth sefydliadol yn derm sy’n cyfeirio at hiliaeth o fewn system cymdeithasol, megis yr heddlu, “institutional racism is about stereotyping; it is about ignorance… it is about seineg black people as a problem and it is about White pretence” (Grieve a French). Ac am y rhesymau hyn, mae’r heddlu yn fwy tebygol o dargedu pobl groenddu, ac mae mwy ohonynt gael eu “stopio ac archwilio” gan yr heddlu. Ffeindiodd y ‘Youth Justice Board’ (YJB) fod y gor-gynrychiolaeth o ifancwyr o grwpiau ethnig lleiafrifol yn dechrau gyda’r ffigwr amghymesurol o ifancwyr a chafodd eu stopio ac archwilio gan yr heddlu. Rhwng 2003-4, roedd ifancwyr rhwng yr oedrannau deg ac ugain yn cyfri fel 2/5 o bob achos o stopio ac archwilio. Felly gall gor-gynrychiolaeth o bobl groenddu fod yn gysylltiedig ag oedran cyn unrhyw esboniad arall. Yn Llundain yn unig, mae bechgyn croenddu yn 28% yn fwy tebygol o gael eu stopio ac archwilio ganddynt.

Er hyn, gall resymau demograffig esbonio’r patrwm hyn. Mae gan grwpiau ethnig poblogaeth fwy ifanc: mae tua 40% o gymuned y dduon dan 16, a 35% o bobl Bacistanaidd, lle mae dim ond 20% o bob dan 16 allan o bobl wen (Swyddfa am Ystadegau Swyddogol, 2005). Ond i atgyfnerthu ar fy mhwynt blaenorol, mae Smith, Gray a Holdaway yn dadlau fod yr heddlu yn dilyn hen ystrydebau o bobl groenddu, ac yn targedu nhw’n fwy fel canlyniad. Mae rhai cymdeithasegwyr yn amheus o hyn gan ystyried tuedd y dioddefwyr, a gall yr heddlu targedu pobl ddu oherwydd dyna’r grŵp mae’r cyhoedd yn adrodd iddynt.

Mae hiliaeth ymysg yr heddlu yn cwympo o dan derm o’r enw “Canteen Culture” (Reyner), lle mae ymddygiadau hiliol a rhywiaethol yn bodoli o fewn yr heddlu oherwydd maent yn teimlo fel dyle nhw fod yn rhan o’r ranc. Caniateir i’r syniadau yma i bridio o fewn y system heddluol achos yr oriau hir mae’r heddlu yn gorfod gweithio; maent yn treulio amser eithriadol o hir â’i gilydd ac felly’n dylanwadu ar ei gilydd mewn ffordd negatif.

Ond, yn ôl yr Heddlu Metropolinaidd, mae’r hiliaeth sy’n bodoli o fewn yr heddlu yn adlewyrchu’r hiliaeth o fewn y gymdeithas. Mae Macpherson yn ehangu gan ddweud fod canran enfawr o’r boblogaeth o fewn yr heddlu yn wyn, ac maent yn hiliol gan nad yw’r sefydliad yn adlewyrchu cymdeithas amlddiwylliannol. Yn wir, dim ond 10% o’r heddlu yn dod o grwpiau lleiafrifoedd ethnig. Cytunodd Sir Anthony Burden, o’r Heddlu De Cymru, ar yr ystadegau hyn gan ddweud, “I would be the first to accept that for 150 years, we have been a white male organisation”.

Hefyd, mae’r heddlu yn dueddol o dargedu ardaloedd sydd â phoblogaeth uwch o bobl sy’n rhan o leiafrif ethnig. Ond nid yw rai cymdeithasegwyr yn gweld hyn fel ffactor hiliol oherwydd gall yr heddlu gael eu cymhelli i galedu targedu yn unig, a trwy dargedu ardaloedd lle mae poblogaeth uwch o grwpiau lleiafrifoedd ethnig yn mynd i edrych yn hiliol beth bynnag.

Mae’r sefydliad ‘Crime Concern’ yn atgyfnerthu’r syniad bod bechgyn croenddu yn dueddol o gael eu carlamu i yn y system droseddol oherwydd y gor-gynrychiolaeth mewn grwpiau risg, gan gynnwys tlodi, methiannau addysgol, iechyd meddyliol a diffyg rhieni sy’n ddylanwadol mewn ffordd gadarnhaol. Mae pobl sy’n profi tlodi ac amddifadedd yn fwy tebygol o gyflawni troseddau.  Mae tystiolaeth yn dangos fod lleihau’r targedau risg yn lleihau’r canran o droseddwyr sy’n rhan o grŵp lleiafrif ethnig, felly gall daclo’r ffactor hyn lleihau gor-gynrychiolaeth o grwpiau lleiafrifoedd ethnig yn y system cyfiawnder troseddol. Yn ôl Merton, mae pobl yn troseddu oherwydd rhwystredigaeth statws. Yn y cyd-destun yma, mae pobl o grwpiau lleiafrifoedd ethnig yn fwy tebygol o gyflawni trosedd oherwydd yr holl broblemau cymdeithasol maent yn eu hwynebu, megis diffyg addysg, tlodi, a hiliaeth.

Yn ôl adroddiad gan ‘Hil a’r System Cyfiawnder Troseddol’, mae “fechgyn du yn pum gwaith yn fwy tebygol o gael eu carcharu na phobl wen”, ac mae astudiaethau pellach yn dangos fod pobl groenddu ac Asiaidd yn dueddol o dderbyn dalfa ddi-oed gan y system cyfiawnder troseddol: 27% i’r dduon a 29% i bobl Asiaidd, gan gymharu â 22% i bobl wen. Dyle’r canrannau hyn ddim bod yn mor uwch na phobl wen gan fod canran uwch o bobl wen ym Mhrydain. Er hyn, mae astudiaethau’n dangos fod pobl o grwpiau ethnig lleiafrifol yn dueddol o gyflawni troseddau mwy difrifol, felly bu’n rhaid i’r system gyfreithiol eu trin yn fwy llym er gwaethaf eu hiliaeth.

Mae troseddwyr croenddu yn fwy tebygol o dderbyn ffin o arian a fwy o wasanaethu’r gymuned na phobl wen (Sharpe, 2005). Ac yn bellach, sylweddolodd ynad du fod diffynyddion du yn fwy tebygol o dderbyn “sylwadau llym, delfrydau difrifol, diystyru ar gyfer lliniaru personol, canfyddiadau hawdd o euogrwydd heb ystyried y dystiolaeth, ac yn fwy tebygol o fynd i’r carchar” (Bird, 2009). O hyn, mae’n glir fod pobl o grwpiau lleiafrifoedd ethnig yn cael eu trin yn wahanol na phobl wen.

Yn ddiweddar, cynhaliwyd ymchwiliadau i mewn i’r system ‘gwasanaethau prawf’ (probation system), a ffeindiwyd elfen gryf o hiliaeth tuag at grwpiau lleiafrifoedd ethnig, yn bennaf yn erbyn pobl groenddu.“There has been a systematic failure to address issues of race and racial discrimination in an adequate but appropriate way” (Travis). Felly mae hiliaeth yn bodoli er gwaethaf yr holl ymdrechion i’w waredi.

Mae’r theori labelu (gan Howard Becker, rhyngweithwyr), yn golygu nad yw person yn gwyredig nes i’r gymdeithas ei labelu fel un. Mae hyn yn gysylltiedig gyda’r system cyfiawnder troseddol oherwydd gall bawb o bob grŵp cymdeithasol cyflawni trosedd, ond dim ond nifer gyfyngedig yn cael eu labelu’n gwyredig. Mae modd defnyddio’r damcaniaeth hyn fel esiampl, megis mae pob person du yn gwerthu cyffuriau, neu bob person Asiaidd yn derfysgwyr. Mae’r heddlu yn benodol yn ymateb i’r stereoteipiau hyn trwy eu dilyn nhw, yn ôl Miller.

Mae’r Neo Farcswyr Stuart Hall yn ffocysu ar y theori labelu esbonio gor-gynrychiolaeth o bobl ddu yn y system cyfiawnder, ond yn lle, mae’r grwpiau ethnig lleiafrifol yn defnyddio strategaethau troseddol fel ymateb rhwystredig i’r hiliaeth o fewn y gymdeithas, ac nid oherwydd hiliaeth systematig, o reidrwydd. Maent yn troi at drosedd fel ffordd o oroesi yn y gymdeithas.

Mae’r Realwyr y Chwith yn gwrthddweud y theori labelu trwy fynegi fod grwpiau ethnig lleiafrifol yn dueddol o droseddu’n fwy am dri phrif reswm: ymylaeth cymdeithasol, tlodi cymharol, felly’n teimlo’n wahardd o’r gymdeithas, ac isddiwylliannau sydd â dylanwadau gwael sydd wedi gwahanu o normau a gwerthoedd y gymdeithas. Felly nid yw’r system cyfiawnder troseddol yn gatalyst am gor-gynrychiolaeth o grwpiau lleiafrifol o fewn y system (Lea a Young).

Wrth gwrs, mae’n amlwg i ni fod hiliaeth sefydliadol dal yn broblem o fewn y system cyfiawnder troseddol. Bodola cymaint o ystadegau i brofi’r ffaith hyn. Gall ffactorau eraill tu hwnt o hiliaeth esbonio’r rhesymau dros ganran uwch o bobl o grwpiau lleiafrifoedd ethnig sy’n cyflawni troseddau, er enghraifft perthyn i grwpiau risg, megis tlodi a methiannau addysgiadol. Er hyn, mae 58% o bobl groenddu yn teimlo eu bod yn cael eu trin yn annheg gan yr heddlu, gan gymharu â 41% o bobl Indiaid a 45% o bobl Pacistanaidd. Mae canran amlwg o bobl yn credu mai’r system heddlu yn eu trin yn annheg.

Mae’r heddlu wedi ymdrechu, beth bynnag, i wella’r sefyllfa hyn gan ymateb i’r adroddiadau negatif sy’n cael eu cyhoeddi amdanynt. Mae’r heddlu yn newid eu tactegau am sut i ymdrin â’r gymdeithas heb gynnwys y ffactor hiliol fel ymateb i’r holl sylw drwg gan y gymdeithas. Yn ôl mam Stephen Lawrence, pwy fu farw o ymosodiad hiliol, “The police made mistakes (in the past), but now they’ve learnt their lesson and they’ve not made the same mistake twice”. Mae hyn yn awgrym fod y system cyfiawnder troseddol yn datblygu mewn ffordd gadarnhaol, ac am barhau gwella yn y dyfodol.

Agencies of social control

The term socialisation is a common term used by sociologists, psychologists, educationalists, anthropologists and political scientist to describe the lifelong process of learning values, norms and customs of a particular society. It provides individuals with skills and understanding that is necessary for conformity and survival.

There are five main groups that are responsible for the process of socialisation, which I will separately discuss in greater depth.

The family

The family is an example of primary socialisation, it is the earliest stage of a person’s learning about culture, for instance, how to eat with a knife and fork.

(Fact: culture is socially constructed – thus it varies from country to country. Example: Chinese culture teaches that it’s a norm to eat with chopsticks, whereas in Western countries (like the UK), children are taught to eat with a knife and fork.)

Through contact with family members, carers and other children (most likely to be siblings), the child learns basic norms and values of society. Also, what children learn varies according to social class, religion, ethnicity, and even the area in which they live. The family uses sanctions to encourage/discourage a child’s behaviour. For example, praise is given to children who say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, whereas bad behaviour is treated with negative sanctions, such as depriving children from what they enjoy, or being put on the ‘naughty step’.

Marxist theory: the family socialises children to comply with the unjust Bourgeoisie/Proletariat class system, commonly known as the ruling and working class. So whilst more affluent families educate their children to accept power and authority, the poorer families teach theirs to accept their role in the inferior class.

Feminist Theory: many feminists argue that the family reinforces gender roles through sanctions. They believe that parents are stricter with girls, which teaches them to be more obedient, while boys’ misbehaviours are largely ignored, brushing it off with language like ‘boys will be boys’. The feminist Ann Oakley points out that gender roles are introduced at an early age through dress code and toys. For instance, the girl is encouraged to wear pink and play with dolls and toy kitchens, whereas the boys are encouraged the wear blue and play with toy cars and action figures.


School is an agent of secondary socialisation which teaches pupils the norms and values of society in a formal and informal setting.

(Formal – meaning ‘proper’, or official. In context with this subject, formal education means curriculum-based subjects, which includes geography, Welsh, maths, etc.)

(Informal – meaning ‘improper’, or unofficial. Again, in context with this subject, informal education includes the ‘hidden curriculum’ –a student subconsciously picks up of the way a teacher may act or dress, which influences them to act in a certain way).

Pupils are sanctioned by using formal and informal social control. Formal social control is generally written through school rules, and when they are broken, official sanctions are applied, i.e. expulsion, detention. If a pupil is especially noted for good behaviour or achievements, official sanctions, in this case, could possibly consist of special privileges, praise assemblies etc.

Informal social control is essentially sanctioning, but with fewer, if any, consequences. For example, a pupil is taught that speaking in class is wrong through a verbal warning by a teacher. In the same way, good behaviour is encouraged by a nod of approval from a teacher.

Generally speaking, it is argued that formal social control has a bigger impact on the pupil’s education, yet informal social control still plays an essential part in influencing the pupil into a particular lifestyle and culture.

Lastly, school educates people on an intellectual level, in contrast to the family, who teaches it on an emotional level.

Peer groups

Peer groups consists of members with similar backgrounds or attributes. They tend to live in the same area and attend the same schools, which proves that peer groups can play a fundamental role on socialisation because they usually spend a great deal of time together.

The most obvious and well-known associated term would be ‘peer pressure’, meaning the the individual is under pressure to look and act in a certain way in order to be socially accepted by their peers. Rejection as a sanction is usually enforced when that member fails to conform to peer pressure.

Evans and Chandler once stated that peer pressure influences children to want the latest items, like Iphones and other expensive gadgets.

Often, peer groups can form subcultures that have norms and values that differ from mainstream society. Paul Willis’s study of working-class boys from London showed that they tended to form a ‘Lad-culture’ that rejected the ‘unfair’ class system and created alternative coping strategies to deal with educational failure, for instance, misbehaviour in class. So essentially, a person’s self-esteem, background or ideologies can influence which peer group they are attracted to, whether they have a negative or positive effect on that individual.

The workplace

Paid employment is a term that will play a significant role in nearly every person’s lives in our society. When a worker is new to a particular job, he/she must learn to conform to its norms, values and rules, or face (in)formal sanctions. This process is called re-socialisation.

Mass media

The mass media is a very prominent agency within society. Ranging from music, the internet, television, radio, magazines, newspapers and film, it allows mass communication and globalisation from all corners of the earth. As a result of the mass media being so large, it can influence and socialise people in more ways than any other social agency.

The mass media tends to focus on the distribution of role models that can have a positive and negative effect on the way males and females think and act. Bad role models, such as Kim Kardashian, can teach girls and boys to favour their looks and to destroy their self-esteem when they compare their lives to the (unrealistic) ones of the celebrities they admire.

The mass media also teaches social norms. For instance, the media tends to condemn murderers, which subconsciously teaches that it’s wrong and undesirable to copy it. Then again, especially with the popularity with gaming, games like GTA can potentially influence people to act in a negative way. For instance, the Norwegian serial killer, Anders Breivik, was allegedly playing hours and hours of violent video games before committing his atrocious crimes. On the other hand, some dispute that video gaming was no catalyst for his actions. Anders Breivik is rightfully demonised by the media, which reinforces the point that the mass media can influence one’s moral values.