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First Person: Being A Black Man In San Diego

San Diego native Jordan Carroll in an undated photo.
Jordan Carroll
San Diego native Jordan Carroll in an undated photo.

San Diego native Jordan Carroll was in elementary school when he says his parents sat him down to have "the talk." They told him that some people may wish to harm him just because of the color of his skin — something he's carried with him his entire life.

Over the years, Carroll, 33, says, he's experienced instances of racism but has remained mostly silent about it, even among his friends.

"They don't understand the daily grind of being a black person in America, especially in San Diego because we're a minority in San Diego at 6% of the population. So, they don't know how I kind of have to present myself constantly in a certain light in order to prove myself to the public, employers, store owners," Carroll said.

At work, for instance, Carroll said he wears a suit every day, even though he's not required to. He wears a suit to not only try to combat stereotypes against black Americans, but to make other people feel comfortable around him. Even in the general public, the way he dresses is for his own safety, he said.

"It's so bad right now that my mother worries about me walking around at night, not because she's worried about me getting mugged or assaulted by someone who wants my money or something like that. She's worried someone will report, quote, 'suspicious large black male' on the premises and that can go south very, very quickly," he said.

As part of our First Person series, Carroll opens up about the "daily grind" of being a black man in San Diego.