The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

The story of the Vanishing Half is birthed in the town of Mallard – a place that is build on colourist ideals as all people who live there are light skinned black people. In this city the citizens make an active effort to eradicate any features that are ‘too black’ in their constant and relentless striving towards whiteness. Born in Mallard are the Vignes twins who are both very light skin black girls. Though they are raised together their adult lives take on very different forms as one of them passes as a white woman and marries a white man whilst the other continues identifying as black and has a daughter, Jude, with a black man. 

Jude is a dark skin girl who has a difficult time in the extremely colourist environment of Mallard until her escape from this small town. However, similar to Emma Lou from Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry she finds colourism to be a problem wherever she goes. Despite this, her situation in the 1990’s seems a slight improvement to that of her counterpart in the 1920’s. A more contemporary take on colourism, that unfortunately shows us how prevalent this structural form of oppression still is.