At the age of ten, Aaron’s childhood within a diverse community shifted abruptly when his family moved to small-town Indiana. There, racist mentalities stereotyped him for his Mixed features and heritage. Marginalized as a Black person within his new, overwhelmingly European-American community, he learned to hide parts of himself that were rejected, hoping to escape harsh racial prejudices.
Driven by fear down a road to build a “pure” identity beyond others’ criticism, desperate to relieve the shame he felt about his own humanity, Aaron pursued varied and often extreme paths in politics, religion, artistry, and education. The utter brokenness, great generosity, and inner voice he met along the way brought with them the truth that his perfectly imperfect humanity was all he ever needed.
AARON DOUGLAS KELLER recounts the struggles, adventures, and lessons of his journey to self-remembrance, acceptance, and celebration in this revealing, surprising, and inspiring memoir accompanied by insightful social commentary. Along with renewed happiness and freedom, he gained empathy for what so many of us grieve: inner clarity and peace we lost, when our nuanced humanity was covered by racism, religious ideology, nationalism, and other black-and-white mentalities. Aaron shares his story of trauma and addiction survival, as part of his escape from toxic US racial dynamics, along with insights he gained about safeguarding our humanity from inhuman forces in American culture.