Protests spread around the country Wednesday night after a grand jury decided not to bring charges in the July death of Eric Garner, a black Staten Island man who died when a police officer placed him in a chokehold. The non-indictment came just over a week after a grand jury declined to indict a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, for the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, amid an impassioned national discussion on race in the U.S.
Adding to that debate, Twitter users have begun sharing stories of racial discrimination using the hashtag #AliveWhileBlack. Many have described instances of unfair treatment at the hands of police officers, who they say have stopped and questioned them for merely shopping in a store or driving a nice car.
The tweets present an appallingly sharp image of everyday indignities faced by black Americans. While another hashtag that has exploded on Twitter since news of the grand jury's decision, #CrimingWhileWhite, reveals the privilege white Americans sometimes enjoy in their interactions with law enforcement, #AliveWhileBlack provides anecdotal evidence of the broken relationship between police officers and black Americans.
We had a new luxury car & were driving in Iowa. Cop pulled us over, demanded to know what my parents did for a living. #alivewhileblack
— Markeya Thomas (@MarkeyaThomas) December 4, 2014
Went to police station to report that a white man had sexually assaulted me. Was lectured about how I could ruin his life. #AliveWhileBlack
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) December 4, 2014
#AliveWhileBlack that time the store clerk in Crabtree & Evelyn call cops because I shopped too slowly. 29 & a postdoctoral fellow
— R.A. Scientist (@CoquiTalksTrash) December 4, 2014
My mother, a registered nurse, has had patients try to refuse care from her because of the color of her skin and her accent #alivewhileblack
— kelz (@kelechialways) December 4, 2014
Got into an ivy league school with a 3.9 GPA. Told it was affirmative action by a legacy kid who's parents are donors #alivewhileblack
— Christina Blacken (@CBlacken) December 4, 2014
rental car broke down during a BAD rainstorm police accused me of stealing the car left me in the rain to run the plates #alivewhileblack
— lovelyti (@lovelyti) December 4, 2014
Can't count number of times I've made appointments to see apartments, arrived, and been told there are no more apartments #alivewhileblack
— Alexis G. Stodghill (@lexisb) December 4, 2014
I've been "complimented" on almost every job interview by employers that were so "surprised at how well spoken I am". #alivewhileblack
— Ace Chapman (@Ac3ofSpad3s) December 4, 2014
My dad & I were pulled over after leaving an open house in affluent neighborhood. Questioned why we'd want to move there. #alivewhileblack
— Christalyn Solomon (@ChristalynPR) December 4, 2014
Cop stops me for going 45 on a 40 zone. Asks why I was speeding, Told him I was on my way to law school. Cop laughs. #alivewhileblack
— The Raisin Man (RKM) (@RealDealRaisi_K) December 4, 2014
Watched my dad get stopped without cause by cops for driving a "nice car" when I was a child. #alivewhileblack
— jamiaw (@jamiaw) December 4, 2014
3rd grade when some1 wrote "niger" on a piece of paper & put it in my desk. Was asked what I did to make some1 write that. #alivewhileblack
— Robert Mitchell (@RLM_3) December 4, 2014
Those police asked where I live. When I pointed behind me at my house where they had called me from they said "no, really"
— الشريف M. Ömer (@KTownsVeryOwn) December 4, 2014
The claims in the above tweets have not been independently verified by The Huffington Post.