The Vanishing Half
Family and identity
From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, Brit Bennett produces a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past, as it shapes decisions, desires and expectations, and explores the multiple reasons why people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
Part of our ‘Beyond the Book’ Series. View
Greta talks with Brit Bennett, the author of The Vanishing Half which just climbed to the top of The New York Times bestselling fiction list amid nationwide conversations around racial inequality. Nerdette Book Club.Play
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As part of our Shades of Black series, the Guardian invited eight women to talk about their experience of colourism in their relationships, careers and everyday life.
Colourism is the discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone. This means that darker skinned black people have to fight prejudice even within their own community, where lighter skin is seen as more desirable. As such, darker skinned black people can experience both racism and colourism.Watch
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(26 mins )
Roundtable discussion. Judged by the colour of your skin – but not just black or white. It’s the shades in between – and the prejudice that comes from perhaps not being what some consider the correct colour. It’s referred to as colourism. Maybe you’re too black, or not black enough – you’re a shade of brown that for some reason makes you popular or more employable. And this form of racism comes from within your own ethnicity.Watch
In the remote Ohio town of East Jackson, which sits in the Appalachian foothills, residents have for decades identified as black – despite the fact they appear white. Tom Silverstone and Francisco Navas visit a place where residents’ racial lines have been blurred to invisibilityWatch
It’s a rare gift to be able to dig beyond the dirt and gossip of lives viewed superficially to get to the inner human story, to delve beyond the sensational into difficult issues, and to view flawed characters with understanding rather than judgment or condemnation. By Helen McAlpinRead Article
A light-skinned twin sister constructs a new identity as a white woman in a clever novel that confounds expectations, Colin Grant for the Guardian.Read Article
Shades of Black
The Guardian’s Shades of Black Series. Colourism – the discrimination faced by darker-skinned people, often from within their own community – remains a taboo. Our reports, essays and first-person pieces looked at the roots and impact of this rarely discussed prejudice.Read More
A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life
Book By Allyson Hobbs. Countless African Americans have passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and communities. It was, as Allyson Hobbs writes, a chosen exile. This history of passing explores the possibilities, challenges, and losses that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions.Read More
Imitation of Life Movie
Watch the Imitation Of Life movie from 1959, based on the book by Fanny Hurst 1933.Read More
Brit Bennett website
Visit the author’s website for events, other books and more.Visit Website
Passing. A novel by Nella Larson
Married to a successful physician and prominently ensconced in Harlem’s vibrant society of the 1920s, Irene Redfield leads a charmed existence ― until a chance encounter with a childhood friend who has been “passing for white.” Passing offers fascinating psychological insights into issues of race and gender.Read More