Protests against the non-indictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner via chokehold back in August, began on Wednesday afternoon.
The hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite was sparked when a writer for the “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” Jason Ross, tweeted about his own experience of a crime he committed and was able to get away with. He then asked others to tweet their own stories:
The hashtag began to trend nationally. Here are some of the tweets:
Buzzfeed spoke to some of the people who used the hashtag and got their stories at length, like this one from Joe Arguelles, who confessed to shoplifting (in the tweet above):
Arguelles told BuzzFeed News that as a teenager and young adult he shoplifted “once or twice a month” for three years. He was never particularly concerned about what might happen to him because the most he expected to experience was “a slap on the wrist.”
Years later, Arguelles came to see that mentality as tied to his status as a white man. “If I weren’t white, I assume I wouldn’t have been doing it in the first place because my thought process would have been different,” he said. “Now I’m more conscious that that’s not a luxury everyone has.”