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 ended abruptly when his family moved to small-town Indiana. Marginalized as “Black” within his new, overwhelmingly White community, a place where racist mentalities stereotyped him for his Mixed features and heritage, he learned to hide parts of himself that were rejected, hoping to overcome racial prejudices.

Driven by fear on this road to build a “pure” identity, Aaron pursued varied and extreme paths in politics, religion, artistry, and education, desperate for ultimate truth, achievements, or purpose that could set him free from the pain of shame he felt in his humanity. The utter brokenness, great generosity, and inner voice he met along the way brought with them the vision that the human he was—the self which others rejected and he had forgotten—was already more perfectly imperfect than anything else he had tried to become.

AARON DOUGLAS KELLER recounts the struggles, adventures, and lessons of his journey to self-remembrance and acceptance in this revealing, surprising, and inspiring memoir. Along with renewed happiness and freedom he gained an empathy for what many of us grieve: the inner peace that we lost when our nuanced humanity was covered by racism, religious ideology, nationalism, and other black-and-white mentalities. Aaron shares his story of survival and escape from the prisons of racial labels and the insights he gained on how to safeguard our humanity from inhuman forces in our cultures.

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

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 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

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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