New York City wasn't the only site of protests last night after a grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in Eric Garner's death. On Twitter, Tonight Show writer Jason Ross started the #CrimingWhileWhite hashtag to draw attention to the preferential treatment police give white people, reports the Hollywood Reporter. "At 17, cited for booze + caught w gun @ school," he tweeted. "No one called me a thug. Can't recommend being white highly enough." He encouraged other white people to share their stories:
- @akrs_: "Airsofting in a park. Cops called. 10 squad cars, 1 helicopter. 'Don't do it again.' Didn't even write our names down."
- @narents: "Many white friends pulled over for DUI In college. Cops followed them home to make sure they got home safe, no arrests."
- @Joe_Schmucc: "oh yeah the time I got picked up for the gun at school thing they let my mom come pick me up and take me home. No juvie."
- @celebrityhottub: "Drunkenly peed at a construction site. Cops rolled up, told me to watch out for phone thieves in the area."
- @oceana_roll: "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."
Others pointed out that Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner and Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes were taken into custody alive, while Garner and other black men accused of minor offenses were killed on the spot. A conversation "about injustice in the death of another black man ... was to be expected," writes Soraya Nadia McDonald at the Washington Post. "What made #CrimingWhileWhite different from other hashtags was its framing. It was about people who are not black pointing out what they consider disparities in treatment drawn from their own experiences." (Read more hashtag stories.)