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 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.

Arriving April 2022! Enter your email to know when the book lands.

As Americans, some of us 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 Chapter One

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 Chapter Two

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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