Marginal Eyes

A Biracial American's Struggle for Identity
in a Nation of Black and White

A memoir by Aaron Douglas Keller

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My life,

My story ...

My Protest.

"I am not writing this memoir now because it is the Black Lives Matter moment. I am writing it now because of the ways in which this moment gave me back my own space to breathe as a biracial man and thus more completely tell my story. I am writing it now before I hear violent whispers again saying to me that it doesn’t matter."

"I want you to know that Americans can’t whitewash the stories of people of color or categorize them in patriotic canisters that keep Old Glory shining brightly in their minds. The truth isn’t conveniently binary as much as some would like to believe ... that a life in the U.S. is a wonderful life and that any who challenge this notion towards making us something better are simply selfish or ungrateful.
I am as American as they can come: a shade of gray between two long-standing white and Black families. I am as grateful for my parents and my U.S. freedoms as the next citizen. Honest readers can discredit neither my intentions nor my past; they must hold two stark truths in tandem and wrestle with their intersection: (1) I had the idealized American childhood, and (2) it led me to destroy myself."
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- From the Introduction to Marginal Eyes

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Excerpts from the Book.

“A Distinctly American Childhood”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter 2 My dad was a good dad, an American dad. And if I didn’t say so succinctly then this story would be horribly incomplete. I had parents who stayed married, I lived among good people, I was put through

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“There’s Power in the Blood”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter 1 The choir, clapping and swaying in unison, joined in for the chorus, their voices booming and rolling with strength. Many in the pews were clapping now. Some were rocking in their seats. Others stood and swayed to the

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“Separated from the Pack”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter 3 “Hey, look at that old Black lady,” he said insistently. In my previous world there would have been nothing strange about seeing an “old Black lady” anywhere, but in Chesterton it was curious … What do I do?

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A Challenge After Regaining My Real Identity

Just as it was a challenge to get back on my feet financially after I recovered from my years of self-sabotage, when I rejected who I was, it is a challenge to regain a social group. What’s more, there is the challenge of dealing with

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“Into the Fire (and Mike Pence’s office?)”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter Five Outside of my time in Mike Pence’s office I was also more widely exposed to the vibe of Washington, D.C. as I rode the Metro each day, engaged in the program’s other activities and attended social outings with

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“Don’t Look Down”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter Seven My songwriting had hit a peak in the summer of 2004 when I spent countless hours with my mind and a keyboard. Whereas the lyrics I had written to audition and make my first recording with Tommy were

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Podcast Appearances.

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