Marginal Eyes

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

A memoir by Aaron Douglas Keller

At the age of ten, Aaron’s childhood experience living in communities where race was seldom questioned ended with a family move to small-town Indiana. The racial tensions he found there overshadowed his free-spirited upbringing, forcing him to survive for the first time as “Black” in a White community. Desperate after this for a sense of identity beyond the pain and helplessness of being judged and confined by his race, Aaron became a purist in pursuits of education, artistry, politics, and religion, hoping to exceed all human scrutiny. The utter brokenness, loving generosity, and inner voice he found along the way led to remembrance of the self he had forgotten. Along with freedom regained in his own humanity came empathy for what so many of us grieve: the loss of vital parts of our mosaic nature as human beings, living shackled by our culture’s black-and-white mentalities.

As Americans, we don't all identify as Mixed;

as humans, we're all mixed.

"This book was part of a very real journey that I took to more completely understand, love, and liberate myself and my human diversity. By taking part of that journey with me, seeing the often ignored and hidden truths I have to share, I hope others can add to their own experiences of human liberation. I also hope that they will treasure and safeguard that opportunity for others." - From the Introduction

I feel strongly that Americans shouldn’t whitewash our BIPOC stories or, by the same token, try to place them in red, white, and blue canisters to keep Old Glory shining brightly—to keep fragile ideals and images of the US safe and unsullied. That can’t be the right way to deal with human suffering, even if it seems to support our national pride. Which is more important: American pride or the American people?
The truth of our past is never binary, and nothing about the US can be labeled as completely great or absolutely horrible. The truth is just too messy for that. And so, as much as some of us would like to focus on how life in the US is a blessing—and that a person challenging this notion, either from experience or to make us a better people, must be selfish, confused, or ungrateful as an American citizen—this just isn’t true.
We need truth to keep the inhuman parts of our history from repeating. I will be telling the truth.

- From the Introduction

Get a note from me when the book lands (Expected February 2022)

have a look at these

Excerpts from the Book.

“A Distinctly American Childhood”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter 2 The fundamentals of what US culture says a child needs were never lacking in my life. My dad strapped me to his back and carried me to the top of the Indiana sand dunes; he taught me to

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“There’s Power in the Blood”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter 1 Their voices boomed, rolled, and penetrated the air with a strength that only Gospel can attain. Many in the pews were clapping, others were nodding their heads, and some stood and shifted their weight side to side, putting

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

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter Five Outside of my internship, I was also exposed to what felt like a wider culture of DC, riding the Metro every day, engaging in the Georgetown program’s other group activities, and joining social outings with my fellow students.

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“But I’m Transcending It.”

An Excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter Eight “Stand against the trunk and spread your legs,” the officer behind me directed.  As he grabbed me roughly from behind and started to pat me down, Tommy lit into them. “Hey man, this is bullshit. What are you

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“Don’t Look Down”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter Seven My songwriting hit a peak in the fall of 2004, when I spent countless hours in my parents’ basement, unbridling my mind at the keyboard. Whereas the lyrics I wrote that spring for my audition were full of

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