A now-viral video in which a white TikToker appears to be dodging a traffic ticket by racing a police officer has sparked a massive debate on social media. Critics were highly offended, as many began to bring up the many Black people who’ve died during routine traffic stops.
In the clip, which has been viewed over 1.8 million times on the young woman’s social media account alone, you see @tanasmith21 wearing a pink shirt and blue denim shorts, agreeing to race the police officer she referred to as “Nick” in a later video.
After a brief count, Smith takes off with the officer giving her a head start but soon catches up to her. The video’s caption read: “He said if I could outrun him, he wouldn’t give me a ticket.” It ends with the text overlay “No ticket for Tana.”
Viewers in the comments section were furious, as many apparently accepted the veracity of what was being presented and took to their keyboards to call out what they deemed blatant “white privilege.”
Others brought up Sandra Bland and many other African-Americans who have come to grief during a traffic stop.
Bland, a Black woman, was found hanging in a jail cell in Waller Country, Texas, just three days after her arrest on July 13, 2015, during a pretextual traffic stop. The 28-year-old had been dragged out of her by now-former state trooper Brian Encinia after being stopped for not signaling for a lane change.
When she took exception to his request to put out the cigarette she was smoking in her car as she waited for her detention to end, her ordered her out of her car and eventually effected a violent arrest. The incident was caught on dashcam video. Bland’s death was later ruled a suicide.
However, Bland wasn’t the only victim’s name flooding the comment section. One TikToker user wrote, “I wish tamir rice was given this chance.” They pleaded, “We have privilege y’all this is what we’re talking about.”
A second person listed several police brutality victims, including “Trayvon Martin [whose killer was not a cop], Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Mya Hall, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice Michael Brown, and Elijah McClain.”
“I couldn’t out walk the cops without a 90% change of getting shot in the back,” wrote a third. Another person said, “God I hope this works for my sons one day. They aren’t white or blonde though, so… there’s that.”
Elsewhere, other users fought back against those who tried to check off the event as a harmless video, including one person who wrote, “People not understanding the race thing obviously haven’t seen a Black person literally ripped from their car for no reason. They have every right.”
“Y’all quick to ask why is race involved in everything. But don’t realize race is in everything,” stated another. “Fill out an Application they ask for it.”
The officer in the video has not yet been identified, nor has the veracity of the incident. The TikToker also appeared to avoid all questions related to race in the comments section.