Black and White Confessions Spur Discussion About Race

Twitter hashgtags are helping people talk race, admit mistakes and apologize

People of different races hold hands as they gather in Charleston. — REUTERS
Jun 24, 2015 at 8:16 AM ET

Twitters users are articulating everything from their fears surrounding the Confederate flag to their frustrations with false assumptions based on skin color through two hashtags that are helping people talk about race, admit mistakes and apologize. 

Using the hashtag #WhitePeopleConfessions, which has appeared in more than 6,500 tweets, one Twitter user regretfully said he used to wish there was something called White History Month. Another one used the hashtag #BlackPeopleConfessions, which has been posted more than 2,000 times, to admit she’s uncomfortable around white people.

So far, the Twitter discussion has stayed largely positive and constructive rather than serving as a way to hurl hate–an anomaly as people post revealing thoughts and engage in a very public discussion.

Some hoped the hashtags could make waves beyond the web in the wake of the deadly Charleston shooting that has highlighted America’s racial divide. “Please let  #WhitePeopleConfessions become a means of radicalizing and galvanizing to action rather than just empty apology and admission,” Twitter user @ztsamudzi said.

It appears that Twitter user Connie Collins started the #WhitePeopleConfessions hashtag “so we can publicly openly start to heal.” But there are also signs the movement is rooted in an already-existing Tumblr discussion that moved from there to Twitter. The Tumblr tag “Black People Confessions” had already inspired collaborative community blogs including “Black Women Confessions”  and “Black People Confessions,” which was active in 2013.

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