First-person: Do I have to represent all black people, every day?

Khalen Morehead
Khalen Morehead

This article is part of the AJC's new RE: Race reporting project, which is dedicated to covering both the tensions and the opportunities created by racial and ethnic change in Atlanta and Georgia. Author Khalen Morehead responded to a request to readers from the AJC to talk about a time when they felt like an outsider.

WHY THIS STORY? WHY NOW?
AJC's RE:Race seeks to foster a constructive, respectful conversation about race and ethnicity in Georgia. It may not be comfortable and you may not always agree. But the conversation is what's important.

Khalen Morehead, Atlanta:

I constantly find myself at unease, even in my own home. I live in a nice apartment in a gentrified area, but I typically dress in urban streetwear (hoodies, basketball sneakers, snapback hats, etc.).

As one of the few black people in my building, I constantly feel this immense pressure to not play loud music/movies — I’ve had two noise complaints since I moved in — make too much noise or to change the way I dress, because I feel like my individual actions will be perceived as stereotypes against the whole black community.

It never feels like I’m my own person, but that I’m a representative for all black people every time I step out the door. I think it’s part of a larger issue where we’re all made to feel like we have to be our own Martin Luther King, Jr., if you will.

With the RE: Race project, the AJC has undertaken new coverage of diversity in Georgia with the goal of fostering a respectful community conversation. In the video, members of the RE: Race team talk about race and why this coverage is so important.

» Would you like to take part? Tell us your story

The RE: Race project will officially launch on Thursday with an article on the dramatic demographic change taking place in Cobb County. An interactive tool will enable you to track demographic change for every county in the state from 1990 through 2050.

Note: Comments for this feature are being moderated by AJC editors.