I'm in the late planning stages of a story I'm working on, and when filling out more details about my main protagonist, it occurred to me that I needed to decide his race. Originally, I had envisioned him as white, most likely because I am white and I live in a society where most characters in most forms of media are also white. Upon thinking about this a little more deeply, I reached the conclusion that there was really no reason why the character had to be white. The story I have planned is not intended to directly address racial issues. Furthermore, there are a few reasons I think making him a person of color might be a good idea. As I mentioned, a disproportionate amount of the existing fiction is centered around white or mostly white characters, so doing some small part to rectify that disparity is appealing. I also thought it might be an interesting challenge as a writer and as a person to try to see and write from someone with a different viewpoint on life and society. I have my doubts, however. While representation of people of color is a good thing, I am uncertain if it is my place as a white person to provide that sort of representation or if it would somehow be disrespectful or distract from people who can write that kind of character from a place of personal knowledge. The other main problem requires a bit of explanation as to where I am personally in regard to racial issues and awareness thereof. Through a series of recent events both personal and national, I have lately had a growing awareness of the racial tensions and racist power structures that still exist in America and the world at large. I have also become more aware of the fact that people can say or do things that, while not overtly or intentionally racist, nonetheless cause discomfort to people of color because of racial undertones. This awareness, however, has done little to help me recognize when something that I or someone else has said or done has caused this kind of problem. I am working on that, but I still struggle frequently to identify whether saying or doing a certain thing may be problematic. Given that, I actually sat down a while ago to start working on a plan for making my protagonist black. When I did, however, I found myself examining every little detail under a microscope, trying to determine whether I was being unintentionally racist. My brain kept trying to interpret even the most mundane physical description in terrible ways. The anxiety was preventing me from getting any actual productive work done and I eventually ended up discarding the whole mess. Since then, however, I've been wondering if I gave up too easily. The reasons for making the main character a person of color are still quite compelling to me. I've gone back and forth on it for a while now and have been unable to resolve my conflict, so I bring it to you folks. What do you think? Am I right to worry, or am I making a big deal over nothing? Should I charge ahead, proceed with caution, or scrap the idea altogether and go back to my original, white protagonist? Why? Also, I tried to find some sort of social justice forum where I could post this topic to get a different perspective on my dilemma, but my searches returned mostly websites for in-person events or scholarly journals. If anyone knows of a good site where I could cross-post this, I would greatly appreciate it.