1. Gun Violence- During the first episode of the season we witness the shooting of an unknown character by the character Alfred, also known as up and coming rapper "Paper Boy" and the cousin of our main character Earnest Marks. The shooting happened after an incident involving Alfred's car, then an argument broke out which resulted in the shooting happening. The victim fled the scene of the proposed crime so no serious charges could be filed.
2. Mental Illness- After the sequence Earnest or "Earn" as his friends call him and Alfred are arrested and brought to the police station. But because Earn hasn't been processed yet Alfred cannot pay his bail along with his so Earn is forced to spend hours in the prison. In this prison Earn witnesses the officers and the inmates making fun of a man who appears to be mentally ill. They use him for entertainment purposes instead of trying to find the help that he needs.
3. Police Brutality- Following the instance that has just been described to you the homeless man spit toilet water in the face of a police officer and the officers proceed to beat and detain him in an unlawful way as people just watch and don't say anything.
4. White People and the N Word- In the first episode Earn runs into a White friend of his that works at a local radio station. The friend relays a story to Earn in which a DJ was doing a wack job at his party, he then stated that he pulled the DJ to the side and said "Really N****a". Once the man walks away Earn ask a nearby Janitor if he has ever heard the man say the N word. The Janitor replies "He know better, I'd whoop his ass if he did". Later on Earn runs into him again but this time he is with his cousin. Earn ask him to recall the story again and he omits the N word from the story confirming Earn's thought that he is the "I'm comfortable enough to use the word with you friend".
5. Poverty- Atlanta is a show that takes place in a city with a wide variety of careers and economic opportunity however Earn is trying desperately to keep his financial situation steady. Also his cousin Alfred doesn't have a regular job, he sells drugs to keep a steady income flowing so that he isn't in the same situation as Earn.
All of these issues are vital issues that have challenged the African American community for generations and the amount of realism that Glover has infused in this show and the world that he has created has made it all the more compelling and interesting.