Being black in America is hard.
That’s no secret. In the past month, we’ve watched a Ferguson, Mo. police officer avoid charges for shooting an unarmed teenager, an Ohio police officer shoot a 12-year-old boy for playing with a toy gun, and a grand jury fail to indict an NYPD police officer who strangled a man to death.
And in the wake of that announcement, people took to the NYC streets to protest the death of Eric Garner and the failure to reprimand the officer for taking an innocent life. They weren’t alone. Cities all over the nation erupted in protests demanding justice and an overhaul of a system that for so long has allowed law enforcement to dispose of black and brown bodies without consequence.
Enter #CrimingWhileWhite — a hashtag born into Twitter infamy by Jason Ross, a Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon comedy writer, in an attempt to share the experiences of white people who have had totally opposite (and positive) encounters with law enforcement.
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
The result? An insightful look into the world of white privilege told by, well, white people themselves.
Take a look at some of the shocking, frustrating, and sometimes hilarious examples below:
Drunkenly peed at a construction site. Cops rolled up, told me to watch out for phone thieves in the area. #crimingwhilewhite
— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) December 3, 2014
14- took my dads car to a party. Pulled over for running a stop sign, had a shotgun in backseat (hunting) “Get home safe” #CrimingWhileWhite
— Mrs. Eric Berry (@Miss_Facetious) December 4, 2014
Got pulled over at 19 in Atlanta, had been drinking, was underage… the cop escorted me home. #CrimingWhileWhite
— Jessi (@lovelyjessij) December 3, 2014
At 13 I stole a car with my friends & drove it 2wks before we got busted. Only one charged was black. #CrimingWhileWhite
— Cecily Kellogg (@Cecilyk) December 4, 2014
In high school I got in a 3 car wreck that might have been my fault. The cop told me it was the “illegal alien’s” fault. #CrimingWhileWhite
— Elizabeth (@oceana_roll) December 3, 2014
Ticket for going 120. No license. Judge let me off. “You go to too good a school to be so dumb so I assume you aren’t.” #CrimingWhileWhite
— Sasha Brown-Worsham (@sashabrownworsh) December 4, 2014
White BF told cop who stopped him for speeding to “f**k off.” Let go with a warning and a “good night.” #crimingwhilewhite
— Anne B (@abroshar) December 3, 2014
My 13yo son and his friends were loitering at Walgreens recently. Only his black friend got searched for shoplifting. ~ #CrimingWhileWhite ~
— Dave Hoover (@davehoover) December 4, 2014
When I was 17 I was caught shoplifting and they politely asked me to leave the store (with the merchandise) #crimingwhilewhite
— Mark Agee (@MarkAgee) December 3, 2014
My 16yr old sister & friends got DUI. Charges dropped bcuz 1 boy was in coast guard. “Don’t want 2 ruin his future.” #CrimingWhileWhite
— The Thighlander (@KnuppsKnupps) December 4, 2014
Was on my way to a party w/ an ounce of weed. Cop caught me w/ it and said “It’s too close to the holidays to care.” #CrimingWhileWhite
— REX (@AETHERhaze) December 4, 2014