I must have watched the video of Alton Sterling’s son cry on the internet five times when it first appeared on my Twitter feed. I could not help but watch it over again, and try to understand what just happened and why.
To see Cameron Sterling become the man of the house so suddenly, and in such a terrible way, was heartbreaking. I wanted to be one of those men patting him on the back, embracing him and offering some kind of comfort.
This young man would remember Tuesday, July 5, 2016 not only as the day that he lost his father, but the day when he would never trust a police officer again.
Still, after watching the video a few more times I found myself trying to understand the “fear.” That fear of a darker or lighter skin, that seems so ingrained.
Is it ancestral? Is it taught? Or is it something more?
I waited and watched the barrage of news coverage, the media becoming concerned with Black lives once more and the condolences that followed. All of the dedicated Facebook and Twitter statuses that tried to rally people together, offer some bit of wisdom and calm.
I struggled to find the right words to articulate what I was feeling that day. To say nothing more than that there is a pit in my stomach would not be enough. I am hurt, I am sad and I am fearful. Fearful, not just of looking at someone who looks like me the wrong way but fearful that one day I could find myself in similar situations that echo across the country now. I feel, at times, like an endangered species.
There are good police officers out there, I know some of them. I will continue to respect them and honor their profession. It just gets harder, at times like these, to believe that those who are sworn to protect are actually good.
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Also on the Huffington Post.
Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia freelance journalist. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post and contributing writer to numerous online publications. Click here to learn more about Peak.