There are many different types of social inequality. In order for something to be considered inequitable, there must be differences in benefits based on some perceived different. Inequality may be based on gender, cultural practices, or race. Some sociologists believe that social inequality leads to crime. Let us explore the various types of social inequality and see what crime, if any, it might lead to.
Gender inequality in the United States has been on the front burner for several decades now. In the 1960’s women organized typically peaceful protests demanding equal rights. They wanted equal pay for equal work. They wanted the glass ceiling destroyed. They wanted to be recognized as equal to their male counterparts. And for the most part, their protesting was legal and lacked a criminal element. Some women did get in trouble for setting fires in public places when they chose to burn their bras. But overwhelmingly, the crimes were petty and many believed police officers only arrested them to give the local news media a show. After all, it was fairly indecent for women to walk around city streets waving their bras. This was a boon for the local and national media outlets. Overwhelmingly though, the amount of crime caused by women because of social inequality is minimal and not a great source of consternation to local, state, and national law enforcement.
Social inequality based on cultural practices is much more prevalent however. Without making a judgment as to which culture is better, because honestly, it is unacceptable to make value judgments about another culture, it is still possible to see that some cultures are more steeped in crime than others. Whether or not some of these cultures, such as gang culture, were led to crime by societal marginalization or were marginalized by the crime they committed is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it is possible to see that the continued marginalization and resulting social inequality does lead to an increase in crime and violence from gang members. They feel the only way their voice can be heard is to shout it over the roar of vehicular and gun violence.
Finally, the last type of social inequality that might lead to crime is racial inequality. And it is not possible to stereotype and make a definite affirmative statement that social inequality based on race leads to crime. One could compare the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to that of Malcolm X to see that, while both certainly experienced social inequality, they did not both choose crime as a way to either retaliate or to solve the problems they faced.
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In conclusion, the fact that social inequality exists is not in dispute. Whether or not it leads to crime is wholly based on how the discriminated against individuals respond to the societal differences. Social inequality does not have to lead to crime.