#CrimingWhileWhite and #AliveWhileBlack Show Stark Contrasts in America

In the few days after the no indictment decision from New York concerning the Eric Garner case, Twitter has been a firestorm of discussion about race, policing, and crime. Two hashtags that developed include #AliveWhileBlack and #CrimingWhileWhite.

#CrimingWhileWhite was intended at showing how white Americans benefit from a privilege that, as many black Twitter users including me feel, is a privilege we only thought we understood from what we have seen looking in from our black perspective. Apparently, we were wrong. Some of y’all out there are getting away with some major crimes. Some of the tweets, including the first one, I still can’t believe are actually true. Some of these are made up, right?

However, there’s a fine line between being an “ally” and sounding like bragging. Some people’s tweets read like jokes, to be honest. Either white privilege is that ridiculous that it would be seen as a joke in the real world, or some are not being as helpful as they think they are. This led to a discussion from both black and white Twitter users who have the opinion that #CrimingWhileWhite isn’t necessarily the best way to support black friends and family who are hurting over the decisions rendered in New York, Ferguson, and the systemic bias in policing in general.

#AliveWhileBlack, however, was a different story. This hashtag told some of the most harrowing stories I’ve ever read. But, these stories only echo the same stories of mistreatment told by others on the streets during the protests, not to mention the stories of the fates of Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and too many others.

Also, the hashtag had the voices of both men and women. Black women are often victimized by the police, too, and their hurt has to be addressed just as much as the hurt black men face at the hands of police.

Let me just state a disclaimer: If there are any police or family members of police reading this, let me just state that I know all police officers aren’t bad. I have some family members who are part of law enforcement, so I’m aware that police officers are also human beings–they have flaws.

I personally have nothing against the idea of police–I just held the door open for a police officer (white) just this week, and the interaction was as kind as it could be. That same police officer also held the door open for another woman behind him, so I realize that there are police who simply want to do their jobs and help people, whether or not they’re minorities (like me and the woman).

However, there are some police officers who are ruining the force for the other good police officers. There’s also a culture (in general) that dictates that some areas of cities (i.e. black, poor ones) must be policed harder than others, which created distrust between those areas of the community and the police.

With that said, what did you think of these two hashtags? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

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