Racially charged debates have been heightened over the past two weeks due to the highly publicized grand jury decisions for the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. However, protesting and rioting aren’t the only efforts people have made to voice their frustrations, and surprisingly, all of the people who are concerned aren’t black.
On Wednesday, December 3, following the non-indictment of New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo, the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite began trending in response to the outrage of the grand jury’s decision. According to the Boston Globe, the hashtag was started by Jason Ross, a notable writer credited for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
The hashtag is reportedly a form of protest where white users shared their encounters with law enforcement. While some recalled times where they committed crimes and were reprimanded, many revealed occasions where they committed crimes and suffered little to no consequences. The trending topic immediately became a major topic of discussion, and has caught the attention of the media and news outlets. There are now thousands of users who have shared their experiences with law enforcement officers.
OTHER WHITE PEOPLE: Tweet your stories of under-punished f-ups! It's embarrassing but important! Let's get #CrimingWhileWhite trending!— Jason Ross (@jasonjross) December 3, 2014
#CrimingWhileWhite because some of us are willing to admit the things we've done would land minorities in prison when we got nothing.— Wade™ (@Wade_in_America) December 5, 2014
Urinating on side of interstate, weed & beer in car, me & friend buzzed. No search. Cop said use a rest area next time #CrimingWhileWhite— Barnyard (@mbbarnyard) December 5, 2014
Not long after the hashtag began trending, hundreds of African-American social media users fired back via Twitter with their responses. On Thursday, December 4, Jamilah Lemieux, a Brooklyn writer and editor, started the hashtag #AliveWhileBack, which chronicles many disheartening ordeals African Americans have faced with law enforcement. Many users also shared their sentiments of the latest controversial grand jury decision.
Unfortunately, many users didn’t limit their disheartening interactions to those with police officers. Some users even recalled being racially profiled simply because of how they appeared. One user even went so far to upload a Vine video showing how he was being followed in a convenient store by a white worker. Although the claims have not been verified, many of the stories are quite disheartening to read.
Hey Black folk, how have police treated you for being #alivewhileblack— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) December 4, 2014
Pulled over a year ago here in NJ, def doing the speed limit, first words out cop's mouth "Do you have any drugs on you?" #alivewhileblack— Jason Williams (@JasonCWms) December 5, 2014
Went to police station to report that a white man had sexually assaulted me. Was lectured about how I could ruin his life. #AliveWhileBlack— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) December 4, 2014
My dad & I were pulled over after leaving an open house in affluent neighborhood. Questioned why we'd want to move there. #alivewhileblack— Christalyn Solomon (@ChristalynPR) December 4, 2014
Got raped+robbed. Police took forever to interview me, mentioned that women sometimes lie to hide "gambling, overspending" #AliveWhileBlack— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) December 4, 2014
Do you believe two different Americas exist? Share your thoughts.
[Image via DRUM]