On Twitter, white Americans are responding to a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island by tweeting about crimes they claim to have committed, but got in little to no trouble for.
In a way, it's a digital version of the protest movements taking hold across the country, with the Staten Island grand jury's decision coming just a week after a St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer in the shooting of Michael Brown.
There's no way to verify the confessions in the tweets, which reached over 600 per minute last night, but the hashtag represents an expression by whites who are disturbed by the continuing racial disparities in the criminal justice system. It should be noted, however, that the position is not a widely-held one:
Most white Americans think bias against them is worse than bias against blacks, while just 37 percent of whites said the Michael Brown case raised important questions about race. Eighty percent of blacks did.
A sampling of tweets under the #Crimingwhilewhite hashtag:
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
I dined and dashed-cop found me at the movies, I paid the bill and he left. I was rude but not arrested and not killed. #CrimingWhileWhite
— Robyn Kopp (@filmfixation) December 3, 2014
As thousands of people tweeted on Wednesday night, many of the messages were serious. Others were random, highly political, and, indeed, irrelevant. Follow a live feed here: #CrimingWhileWhite Tweets