Using the #CrimingWhileWhite hashtag, white Twitter users are apparently confessing to crimes they committed and got away with, that they say could more likely have gotten a black American arrested. The confessions range from the petty:
to grand theft:
to the outrageous:
to incidents when connections were allegedly used to make law enforcement problems go away:
#CrimingWhileWhite is an unexpected byproduct of the intense racial tensions in the US around police in Missouri and New York not facing indictment for killing suspects. And while it’s hard to verify the truth of the confessions or race of the confessors, they’re plausible given what statistics have already proven—people of color are more likely to be stopped by police, and arrested for crimes, than whites. Police in Ferguson, Missouri, for example, stopped seven times as many black drivers as white ones last year, and arrested them at twice the rate:
Blacks also are three times as likely to be killed by law enforcement officers as whites.
The bulk of the confessions on #CrimingWhileWhite are what you might call “youthful indiscretions,” ie stupid stuff that many Americans have done as teens, and that, if they are white, they probably didn’t get arrested, prosecuted, or shot for, like underage drinking:
And that anchors what’s effectively the hashtag users’ biggest contention: Small violations of the law, especially if they’re committed while young, are viewed by the US legal system as something that shouldn’t be allowed to ruin an American citizen’s life—at least as long as that citizen is white.