clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

#Crimingwhilewhite is a mind-blowing view into white privilege and the law

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner to death. Much of the country once again erupted in anger, frustration, and sadness. Many took to the streets of New York City to protest the decision, and there were similar protests in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Ferguson, Missouri — where a grand jury last week decided not to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

While thousands marched, the hashtag #Crimingwhilewhite was born. White men and women, used the hashtag to tweet out their mild run-ins with police and the dramatic difference between their experiences and those of Eric Garner, who was selling loose cigarettes or 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was shot dead for carrying a toy gun.

It's a stark acknowledgment of white privilege, under-punishment and a frustration with the racism of the criminal justice system:

On Thursday morning, another hashtag #alivewhileblack found momentum on Twitter.

Black men and women have started sharing their experiences about harassment and over-reaction by police. It's a chilling contrast to #crimingwhilewhite.