#CrimingWhileWhite, #AliveWhileBlack Hashtags Raise Questions About Race, White Privilege

In the wake of Ferguson and the Eric Garner case, these social media trends have sparked a powerful conversation, but can they incite real change?
6:35 | 12/11/14

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Transcript for #CrimingWhileWhite, #AliveWhileBlack Hashtags Raise Questions About Race, White Privilege
In America, will the police really let you get away with a crime just because you're white? Tonight, thousands of white people are going online to tell their stories of evading the law. It is a provocative new wrinkle in the national debate about race in the wake of the grand jury decisions in both Ferguson and New York City. Here tonight, ABC's linsey Davis with the latest installment in our week-long look at race and justice in America. Why do I have to let you know who I am? Reporter: Take a look at this. A father about to be tased in front of preschoolers. I'm not doing anything! Ah! I'm not doing anything! Reporter: Picking up your kids from daycare, yet another scenario that falls under the category of things you can't do while black. At least according to 28-year-old Chris lolly. Come on -- I'm not here to argue. I'm a black man and I live this every day of my life. And it sucks. What's your business with me right now? The problem is, I'm black. That's the problem. Prejudice is something real in this society. They just didn't believe anything I was saying. Reporter: We've seen the mass protests. People rallying behind sayings like -- Hands up, don't shoot. Reporter: Celebrities donning shirts with the words "I can't breathe." And on social media, trending hash tacks suggesting Eric garner and Michael brown are not isolated cases. Alive while black and criming while white have sparked a national conversation, as thousands share experiences. I was drinking wine on by dc stoop when cops passed right by me to detain my black neighbor drinking wine on his. Reporter:er was 20. Stopped by cop at gas station. Under the influence and underage. He flirted with me, then let me drive home. #Crimingwhilewhite. People tweeting about crimes they allegedly committed and got away with, they say, just because of their race. White privilege means -- Being given the benefit of the doubt at any turn. I can go through this world without having to think about my race. You know, I watch criming while white go viral very quickly and on some level, I appreciated it. But it almost felt like humble bragging. Like at what we're able to get away with it. We needed to hear how black people are treated by the police. Reporter: In response, Jameel started the hash tag alive while black. Got raped and robbed. Police took forever to interview me. Mentioned that women sometimes lie to hide, quote unquote, gambling or overspending. #Alivewhi #alivewhileblack. Reporter: Many in the black community felt theired a their own stories to tell. Stories that had been ignored. Alive while black quickly took off. My neighbors called the police to my home. They arrived and handcuffed me before realizing it was me that needed help. Alive while black. SUV full of women leaving bachelorette party. Cops pull us over with guns drawn. We fit the profile of two male robbers. We're feeling angry, we're feeling tired. We're feeling saddened and terrified that we can't just live a Normal life, that our Normal is different from everyone else's. Reporter: For Chris in Minnesota, these stories are eck coast of his own. Sitting right here just waiting and even the cameras back there show it. Reporter: He was sitting in a public seating area when a security guard approached him. He walked up to me and asked me what I was doing there and I told him exactly, you know, I'm waiting on my kids at new horizons. Gave them the name, the place. I have to go get my kids. Please don't touch me. You're going to go to jail. Reporter: The police are called. I was excited for the police to come. More of less just because they were going to get -- I expected them to get there and say that I was in a public area and they had no reason to ask me to leave. Put your hands behind your back. Reporter: While Chris is recording on his phone, the situation starts to deteriorate. He is then tasers and eventually arrested. I'm not doing anything! Stop, please! Reporter: The same day this video surfaced, all of lolly's charges were dropped. He's now suing the city of St. Paul and the three officers involved. The police officers have denied all wrongdoing. His video may have just saved him from prison. While other videos like this one now so familiar, ignited a firestorm in America that continues to reverberate. Rallying around these hash tags has given way to conversations that may have never taken place. There's a whole segment of society that doesn't want to talk about race. And the way they try to shut that down is to say that people talking about race is actually racism. No, you know, choking a man to death is actually racism. Reporter: Some doubt how much these hash tack tags really inspire change. Are they just oversimplifying and labeling? Director and producer of TV hits like "Grey's anatomy" and "Scandal" Shonda rhimes says hash tacks should not be mistaken for activism. Hash tag is not helping. It's not the same as doing something. Hash tags are. Reporter: Spret on Twitter. I love them. I will hash tag myself into next week. But it is not a movement. It does not make you Dr. King. It does not change anything. Hash tags were never meant to be the end all be all for solving the world's ills. The same way that putting black female characters on "Scandal" and "How to get away with murder" is not a revolution. But it may be a revolutionary act. Reporter: But it remains to be seen if discussions about #crimingwhilewhite and #alivewhileblack will bridge a racial divide or polarize us even more. I'm linsey Davis for "Nightline" in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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